I need to see some consistency in the way the feds and big business are handling the illegal immigration issue before I can sign an affidavit that seems to place an unfair burden on the business owners of Payson.
Here is some interesting information: In 2001, the U.S. Treasury approved the acceptance of Matricula Consular. This is an ID card, issued by the government of Mexico. Today, the Matricula is the preferred ID, I was told by a bank employee, to open accounts.
Needless to say, most financial institutions have jumped on this. Nobody wants to miss out on the literally billions of dollars in so-called mattress money -- the cash kept at home by illegals and others without bank accounts. In fact, many large companies have booths set up at the Mexican Consulate, ready to do business with the new Matricula holders.
The Internal Revenue Service offers foreigners an I.T.I.N. This is a nine-digit individual tax identification number. This is offered to foreigners (illegal immigrants) who cannot qualify for the nine-digit Social Security card that you and I hold. By having an I.T.I.N., foreigners are able to pay income tax. So even though illegal immigrants are not allowed to be employed in the United States, our government has provided a way for them to pay taxes, thus verifying their employment so they can, for example, qualify for a home mortgage. That sounds like an incredible economic incentive to me. Isn't that against the law?
While the immigration agents are promising to come down hard on the blue-collar businesses -- construction, landscaping, agriculture and service companies -- corporate America is bringing a large portion of this underground economy into the mainstream. Both sides seem to be operating with government approval, regardless of the law. We are sending a mixed message, not only to the illegal immigrants, but also to people like you and me.
I see glaring inconsistencies. While the practice of hiring illegals is considered against the law, the practice of selling to them is not. It is our government and big business that is responsible for legalizing and legitimizing millions of people who, technically, have no legal right to be here.
As a small business owner in Payson, I refuse to be scapegoated. I will not take the blame for something that has been going on for decades.
Historically, it's easier to go after the hard working, highest-tax paying, middle-class Americans, like so many of us here in Payson.
I would like to encourage all business owners in Payson to prayerfully consider refusing to sign the affidavit required by the Town ordinance.
Michele Breen Simmons, Payson
Editor's note: This letter was shortened to fit within the 400 word limit for letters to the editor.