Deported Immigrants, and income earned while in the US

I have a friend who by birth is a United States citizen, however his older brother was born in Thailand, and is still not a citizen.

His brother moved here when he was about 12, went to school, went to college, has a career, wife, kids, house, etc.

His brother said, “If Trump deports me, i wouldn’t care, i would sell the house, cars, and cash my savings and live like a king”

My question is, do deported immigrants get to keep money they earned?

Please keep this question non-political!

Why wouldn’t they?

Because AFAIK the US taxes all money earned in the US regardless of nationality.

Sure but being an immigrant doesn’t mean you’re not paying taxes. Sounds to me like the brother is in the US legally with a green card (but not citizenship). Assuming he’s paid all his back taxes then yes of course he can sell up and move back to Thailand and yes probably he can live like a king (in a small town, not in Bangkok).

What about an illegal?

Is his wife a citizen? If so he should make all accounts joint accounts with her name on them. If not they definitely won’t travel with him if he’s deported.

You aren’t making it exactly clear how he has a house, job, etc if he isn’t documented so the answer would vary depending on the circumstances. He can’t bring a suitcase full of cash with him on the bus if that’s what you’re asking.

The government can’t just steal your house and life savings just because you didn’t have the right to live and work in the United States. If you earned income in the United States and didn’t pay taxes on that income, and the IRS can prove it, then they can force you to pay your taxes and penalties.

But it isn’t “You didn’t pay your taxes so we get to take everything”. They only get to take what you actually owe.

Being deported can be financially disastrous, but not because the government gets to steal all your money. If you own a house or a business or a pile of money under your mattress, and then you get sent back to Bangkok, now you’ve either got to sell the house remotely, or liquidate the business, or find someone you trust to turn over the mattress and mail you that cash. Not easy. It’s very likely to be financially ruinous to be deported. That has nothing to do with the IRS getting to keep your stuff.

They also give you a bill for the deportation costs as a goodbye present.

Can they block his bank accounts so he cannot withdraw the money from an ATM in Thailand? Or simply write a check for deposit there, as I did when I went abroad for a year.

No person is illegal.

If someone owes back taxes (fines, penalties), one of the options that the government has is an asset freeze. This has nothing to do with citizenship or immigration status. Conversely, I know of no basis for freezing assets simply because of an immigration violation.

Illegal in this context does not mean the person is illegal. it’s shorthand for saying the person is in the country illegally, either by entering illegally or overstaying their visa.

Yes, but being in the country when you don’t have permission doesn’t give the government the right to steal your stuff.

If you owe taxes then you have to pay those taxes. Your immigration status is irrelevant.

One thing needs to be pointed out. Undocumented immigrants (eg illegals) do pay taxes, and they don’t get to claim any social security benefits or retirement benefits back. Here:

$12 billion a year taxes comes from “illegals” as you call them.

Yeah, but the largest chunk in the number cited seems to be sales and services tax. I paid sales and service tax everytime I bought something or used services when I visited the US. Should I get citizenship? :dubious: . Obviously not. Hardly a way to excuse illegal migration since they paid sales tax everytime they bought groceries.

What? I never said they should get citizenship or anything about that. However the fact they do pay some taxes is relevant to the question of if they should keep their accumulated wealth after being deported.

A person may commit a felony. That person is correctly called a felon.

When the term “illegal,” is used in this context, it’s similar to the use of “felon,” to describe a person who has violated immigration laws and is illegally present in the United States. A person is not inherently illegal, but certainly may be illegally present in the country.

What a silly idea. The police steal money from their own citizens, perfectly legally. Asset forfeiture - if the police catch you with an excessive amount of money and deem it proceeds of a crime, or any other assets they believe are proceeds of crime, they can seize them. Then it’s up to you to prove it was obtained legally and you are entitled to get it back. (Minus the lawyer fees, of course) You don’t even have to be charged, much less convicted of a crime.

The new attorney general says that he has no objection to taking money from drug dealers. In Philadelphia in 2012, the average cash seized was $212; meaning most people stopped and frisked were being relieved of the contents of their wallets, not those wads of bills from drug dealers made famous in the movies and TV.

So I haven’t heard of this happening yet, but I would not be surprised if some enterprising law enforcement comes up with the idea… if a person had no right to work in the USA and they did so illegally, then their wages are proceeds of crime and can be seized. So can any assets bought with those wages. After all, any proceeds go straight into the police budget in many states.

After all, they deported a mother of two who had been in the USA illegally for 20 years, for the crime of using a false SSN to work.

Yes I’m sure this idea will come up at some point with the current administration. However it will be shot down, because they don’t actually want to stop illegal immigrants coming into the US (major parts of the economy would collapse), they just want security theatre to appease the low information voters.

Seizing assets from working without a visa would genuinely stop people coming illegally to the US, and thats why it will never happen (just like strictly fining employers of illegals will never happen, for the same reason).

There was some discussion of seizing or taxing remissions to Mexico to help “pay for the wall” as pressure to make Mexico pay. IIRC, the remissions by illegal workers to Mexico are somewhere around $28B a year, so a worthwhile bundle to “appropriate”.

Of course, the moment they say they will, remissions will stop and go underground. Then what? Taking several hundred dollars out of the country becomes a crime?