The question of whether to legalize illegal aliens and put them on a pathway to citizenship may be the most controversial legislative issue facing the U.S. Congress this year.

But, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), seventeen years have already passed since the Internal Revenue Service made its own “policy decision” to “’legalize’ illegal aliens.”

That policy, made those many years ago, not only determined that the IRS would treat illegal aliens the same as legal immigrants and U.S. citizens, but also that the IRS would not hand over to federal immigration authorities information about employers who appeared to be hiring large numbers of illegal aliens and about illegal aliens who filed false documents with the IRS.

The story starts in 1996, when Democrat Bill Clinton was president, and the Republicans controlled Congress.

On May 2, 1996, the Senate voted 97 to 3 to approve the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act. This vote inspired Sen. Ted Kennedy to go down to the Senate floor and proudly proclaim that the Senate had taken bipartisan action to stop illegal immigration and protect American workers.

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