A few weeks ago, as the Senate Judiciary Committee was debating immigration reform, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) told everyone the story of Candida Gutierrez, a Houston schoolteacher whose identity was stolen by an illegal alien named Bentia Cardona-Gonzalez. This was a big-time identity heist, as Cardona-Gonzalez opened bank accounts and secured credit cards, a drivers’ license, employment, a mortgage, and health care with her stolen identity over the course of 12 years. Gutierrez’ stolen name even wound up on the birth certificates of the illegal alien’s U.S.-born children. The authorities didn’t catch her; Gutierrez’ husband (the one thing Cardona-Gonzalez didn’t steal!) tracked down the thief and turned her over to the feds.
With this story in mind, Grassley proposed an amendment to immigration reform that would require amnesty-seeking illegals to hand over every name and Social Security number they had used to gain employment in the United States. Grassley’s amendment didn’t explicitly bar identity thieves from receiving amnesty, or mandate their arrest, but would have authorized federal agencies to notify the rightful owners of stolen identities. He called it “the first step to helping clean up the mess that’s been created for the victim of identity theft.”
That was too much for Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who took immigration reform from the youthful hands of Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and turned it into the usual Democrat nightmare of vote-buying giveaways. As chronicled by CNS News, Schumer explained that identity theft is perfectly normal and understandable behavior for those who cross the border illegally. It would be unfair to expect them to comply with any other American laws they find inconvenient, in addition to the one about not violating our border:
“When people are living in undocumented status, there are times, I suppose, when they’ve made up identities, made up Social Security numbers,” Schumer told his Judiciary Committee colleagues. “How are they going to remember all that, and are we going to delay RPI status?
“(The) purpose of this is to bring people out of the shadows,” Schumer said of the “reform” bill. “We all know when they lived in the shadows, they had to forge documents, forge Social Security numbers, et cetera. We want to stop that once and for all so it never happens again. But this isn’t going to help. This is going to leave millions of people still in the shadows and not able to come out of the shadows and won’t solve the problem that we’re trying to solve, which is to have as few people here illegally as possible, put them on RPI, provisional status and then get them on a path to citizenship.”
“I just don’t see how, when you’ve lived here 10 years, and you’ve had many different identities, many different numbers, you’re going to remember them all,” said Schumer.
Grassley’s amendment went down to defeat on a party-line vote.
It’s one more scene from a nation that is both lawless and hyper-regulated. The law has become one more commodity for socialists to re-distribute. If you’ve got the right political connections, you don’t have to sweat the little stuff, like the laws against stealing citizenship, or even the identity of existing citizens. If you’re on the wrong side of the ruling Party, however… well, don’t bother applying for one of those tax exemptions they hand out like candy to their allies, or you’re going to find yourself with 20 days to fill out 35 intrusive questions with 80 sub-topics under penalty of perjury, like Dr. Karen Kenney of the San Fernando Valley Tea Party Patriots. The letter threatening you with dire consequences might even be personally signed by a high IRS official like Lois Lerner.
One of the questions asked of Kenney’s groups was to list all the illegal activities her Tea Party Patriots were organizing or condoning. Pro-life groups had to hand over their prayer books. Middle-class soccer moms trying to launch tiny grassroots organizations were told to supply the IRS with every social media post they had ever written. But we can’t ask illegal aliens to hand over a list of their stolen identities when they apply for amnesty?
Speaking of the IRS, it turns out that the man in charge during the conservative witch hunts, Douglas Shulman, once had a rendezvous in New York with infamous tax cheat Charlie Rangel, back in 2009. Was Shulman there to arrest the perp? No, he appeared on stage with Rangel to “urge New Yorkers to get the most out of their tax returns.” I kid you not.
Confronted with the incongruity of a joint appearance between the IRS commissioner and a Congressman who cheated on his taxes, Shulman replied, “He’s one of the leaders in this country on tax policy issues. I work closely with him every day, and I’m honored to be on this stage with him.”
Aristocracy has its privileges! And the rest of the government apparatus can also ignore the same laws that plague the rest of us. Corners can be cut until the paperwork is a stack of octagons. (That one’s for you, Battlestar Galactica fans.) The IRS is currently under fire for blowing millions of taxpayer dollars on lavish conferences, including single shindig in Anaheim that cost $4 million all by itself. No expense was spared – there were luxury hotel suites, big-ticket speakers, crazy video productions, gifts for attendees, the works. But when the Treasury Inspector General investigated this wild spending spree, “the IRS was unable to provide documentation to support all costs associated with the conferences.”
In other words, they didn’t bother to keep the receipts. Try that excuse when the IRS audits you, and see how far you get.
Those in power don’t feel any compulsion to follow the rules, from the President making illegal recess appointments, to Administration officials dodging transparency laws with secret email addresses. And while the ruling class shows itself a good time, the burden of law falls on an increasingly small group of productive Americans who face punitive measures even when they haven’t done anything wrong. Activity is regulated, business is micro-managed, property and money are confiscated… and you’d better comply with every command, and provide every scrap of information required, or the same government that’s been ignoring its own budget laws for years will come down on you like a ton of bricks.
Perhaps there is a constant level of law in society – a maximum possible burden of monitoring and compliance that could be fairly and justly carried by all of the people, and all of their public servants. Exceed that level, and the growing burden is twisted in increasingly grotesque ways, as some laws are diluted to mere guidelines, while others are sharpened into weapons against the disfavored. “Justice” becomes a resource to be allocated as the ruling class sees fit, and they dislike being on the wrong end of it.