Man, I hate when that happens

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by Turok, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. Turok

    Turok

    I'm pretty hard right on the immigration thing, but stories like this do make one sad.

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/09/27/immigrant.money/index.html

    MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- For 11 years, Pedro Zapeta, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala, lived his version of the American dream in Stuart, Florida: washing dishes and living frugally to bring money back to his home country.

    Pedro Zapeta, an illegal immigrant, managed to save $59,000 while working as a dishwasher for 11 years.

    Two years ago, Zapeta was ready to return to Guatemala, so he carried a duffel bag filled with $59,000 -- all the cash he had scrimped and saved over the years -- to the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

    But when Zapeta tried to go through airport security, an officer spotted the money in the bag and called U.S. customs officials.

    "They asked me how much money I had," Zapeta recalled, speaking to CNN in Spanish.

    He told the customs officials $59,000. At that point, U.S. customs seized his money, setting off a two-year struggle for Zapeta to get it back.

    Zapeta, who speaks no English, said he didn't know he was running afoul of U.S. law by failing to declare he was carrying more than $10,000 with him. Anyone entering or leaving the country with more than $10,000 has to fill out a one-page form declaring the money to U.S. customs.

    Officials initially accused Zapeta of being a courier for the drug trade, but they dropped the allegation once he produced pay stubs from restaurants where he had worked. Zapeta earned $5.50 an hour at most of the places where he washed dishes. When he learned to do more, he got a 25-cent raise.

    After customs officials seized the money, they turned Zapeta over to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The INS released him but began deportation proceedings. For two years, Zapeta has had two attorneys working pro bono: one on his immigration case, the other trying to get his money back.

    "They are treating me like a criminal when all I am is a working man," he said.

    Zapeta's story became public last year on CNN and in The Palm Beach Post newspaper, prompting well-wishers to give him nearly $10,000 -- money that now sits in a trust.

    Robert Gershman, one of Zapeta's attorneys, said federal prosecutors later offered his client a deal: He could take $10,000 of the original cash seized, plus $9,000 in donations as long as he didn't talk publicly and left the country immediately.

    Zapeta said, "No." He wanted all his money. He'd earned it, he said.

    Now, according to Gershman, the Internal Revenue Service wants access to the donated cash to cover taxes on the donations and on the money Zapeta made as a dishwasher. Zapeta admits he never paid taxes.

    CNN contacted the U.S. Attorneys office in Miami, U.S. Customs and the IRS about Zapeta's case. They all declined to comment.
     
  2. maxpi

    maxpi

    Of course they are not going to comment, they took a bunch of money from a hard working poor guy and now they don't want to give it back!! I wouldn't comment either....
     

  3. Turok, I'm sorry, but this bloke:

    1. Didn't report taxes/didn't pay taxes
    2. Was in the country illegally
    3. Didn't comply with laws

    Do you think that he had either auto or health insurance, either?

    How much did you pay in taxes to subsidize his subsistence level in this society so that he could attempt to conduct his own foreign aid program to himself?

    Sorry, but I have less sympathy for this gentleman than you do.
     
  4. Turok

    Turok

    drs:
    >Turok, I'm sorry, but this bloke:

    >1. Didn't report taxes/didn't pay taxes
    >2. Was in the country illegally
    >3. Didn't comply with laws

    Agree completely -- as I said I'm pretty much hard right on this stuff.

    >Sorry, but I have less sympathy for this
    >gentleman than you do.

    I think you've misunderstood. I'm sad that kids grow up without proper parenting and end up as adults holding up the local liquor store -- but I don't sympathize when they go to jail. It's the ignorance in both cases that makes me sad.

    (from the article)
    "They are treating me like a criminal when all I am is a working man,"

    No, you are a criminal -- by absolute definition.

    JB
     
  5. Brandonf

    Brandonf ET Sponsor

    How in the hell does that give the Govt the right to steal the mans money? This is outragous that it could happen to anyone, and his status as legal/illegal is a nonissue here, the real issue is the narcostate police because any of us who found ourselves in his situation (with citizanship) would be facing a very similar fate. Sick! Of course no one on either side feels the need to be consistant anymore so long as something fits the party line, and neither party nor their reps do a damn thing anymore so the poor guy is probably screwed. And while you sit there saying "Well he was an illegal" just know that it could have been anyone else, it happens all the time it just doesnt come to the attention of the press, or it gets squashed when it does.
     
  6. Turok

    Turok

    Brandon:
    >How in the hell does that give the Govt the
    >right to steal the mans money?

    Uh...it's pretty much common knowledge (and has been tested many times legally) that the government has the right to confiscate assets gained through illegal activities. If you rob a bank you don't get to keep the money. If you don't pay the taxes, you don't get to keep (all of or sometimes any of) the money.

    >This is outragous that it could happen to
    >anyone, and his status as legal/illegal is a
    >nonissue here,

    Perhaps it's a "nonissue" to you, but it's a big issue to me and perhaps a few hundred million others.

    >the real issue is the narcostate police because
    >any of us who found ourselves in his situation
    >(with citizenship) would be facing a very similar
    >fate. Sick!

    Very few on this list understand what you just said better than I do. *All* of my assets (tools for livelihood, bank accounts etc.) were seized and never returned. I was convicted of a drug (mj) conspiracy ending in three years in the penitentiary.

    Now, I don't like what they did with me, and I think are drug laws are a joke, but I completely disagree with you that they don't have the right to do it. I took my lumps and moved on. According to the laws, the result was fair.

    >Of course no one on either side feels the need to be
    >consistant anymore so long as something fits the party
    >line, and neither party nor their reps do a damn thing
    >anymore so the poor guy is probably screwed.

    I have no party and am completely consistent with this. I'm happy for you to prove me wrong -- give it a shot.

    >And while you sit there saying "Well he was an illegal"
    >just know that it could have been anyone else,

    Yes, and it is just as illegal for a citizen to take 59K out of the country in a bag without the proper paperwork as it is for an "illegal alien". I don't understand your point. It's a criminal act.

    >it happens all the time it just doesn't come to the
    >attention of the press, or it gets squashed when it does.

    Yes, people break the law all the time. Some don't get caught. Some get caught and the press smell a good story. Some get caught and it's so mundane it won't sell papers. Occasionally, someone has the pull to get it out of the papers. Again, you seem to be stating the obvious and I don't get your point.

    JB
     
  7. Also lived in the US for 11 years and yet he doesn't speak a word of english
     
  8. Brandonf

    Brandonf ET Sponsor

    The state/feds take the confiscation of assets thing to an extreme. They depend on it for new toys, raises etc and they act like criminals in order to get at peoples money. Just recently(may or june) a guy was pulled over west of Des Moines who had decided to take the summer and travel the country, he was carrying $18,000 cash with him as his plan was to spend the entire summer traveling. He was born in the US and to parents born in the US. The police took his car and his cash and kept him locked up for 3 weeks while he had to hire an attorney and accountants to prove that the money was "really" his and not from an "Illgotten sourse". This was a 28 year old guy who had just finished his masters degree and had never been in trouble except once when he was 19 for having a bag of winecoolers underaged. Where is the justice in that? The state would not even refund him for the legal and accounting fee's it took him to prove it was "really his" money and not theirs to take. SICK!

    Brandon
     
  9. Take a look at these AOL polls, they're amazing when side by side. (or should I say people are fucking stupid)

    http://news.aol.com/story/ar/_a/mis...0/20070928093609990001?ncid=NWS00010000000001

    Do U.S. laws treat illegal immigrants too harshly?
    No 57%
    Yes 29%
    I'm not sure 14%
    Total Votes: 61,752


    Should Pedro Zapeta get his money back?
    Yes 72%
    No 22%
    I'm not sure 6%
    Total Votes: 69,289


    He broke the fucking law, unbelievable.
     
  10. American are quite forgiving. I could imagine the sacrifices he made to save that much money on his wages. Yea, he didn't pay taxes, prolly got some free health care, frankly, it is no sweat of my back. Sure collectively we all pay higher taxes as a result but considering some of the other govt spending follies I have no choice in, I'd give the guy a pass. Wouldn't surprise me one bit if the gov't handed him a bill for services rendered, some private citizen would pay it up in a heart beat. Americans love affair with the underdog, even the criminal ones.
     
    #10     Sep 29, 2007