One of the major talking points from the Gang of Eight before they released their “comprehensive” immigration reform bill was that amnestied illegal aliens would be required to pay back taxes in order to receive legal status—“registered provisional immigrant” (RPI) status. However, as many Americans now know, such a requirement is not actually contained in the 1,000 plus page bill.

Rather, the Gang of Eight gives illegal aliens a free pass for not paying taxes, whereas U.S. citizens and legal immigrants committing the same offense face jail time and hefty fines. Under current law, any person “who willfully fails to pay” taxes owed are guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction, face a fine up to $25,000, imprisonment not more than one year, or both. (26 U.S.C. 7203) And, any person who “willfully attempts in any manner to evade” taxes are guilty of a felony and upon conviction, face a fine up to $100,000, imprisonment not more than five years, or both. (26 U.S.C. 7201)

So will illegal aliens be subject to these same penalties as Americans if they’ve failed to pay taxes? Not under the Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill. Under their amnesty legislation, illegal aliens only need to pay taxes “assessed” to qualify for RPI status. But “taxes assessed” are of course different from “taxes owed.” Taxes assessed requires the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to either affirmatively record an individual’s owed taxes, or actually audit an individual. Accordingly, under the Gang of Eight bill, the issue of whether illegal aliens will actually have pay back taxes is left up to the discretion of the IRS to figure out at a later date—if at all. (See FAIR Legislative Update, Apr. 29, 2013)

While the federal government routinely uses its broad authority to prosecute U.S. taxpayers who violate our tax laws, illegal aliens who have unlawfully worked in the U.S. will continue to get a free pass if the Senate passes the Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill. Thus, although U.S. taxpayers must pay back taxes; penalties; fines; interest; and potentially jail time, the Gang of Eight essentially grants illegal aliens blanket amnesty for violations of tax law.