Remember Deena Gilbey? She was the British woman at risk of being deported after her husband died in the recent attacks. Her residency status depended on her husband’s work visa. So within days of the 9/11 tragedy, the Immigration and Naturalization Service was telling Mrs. Gilbey that with the end of her husband came the end of her legal residency.Â Well, there was such an uproar, the INS backed down and agreed to let her stay. They’ll be kinder and gentler about similar cases, they say. But INS is not the only three-letter acronym causing problems for victims of the tragedy.
The IRS fears that bereaved foreign spouses will pack up and head home, along with all family assets. So they force such widows and widowers to cough up the estate tax immediately. For Americans, the tax affects everything above the first $675,000 of assets. But for foreign nationals, everything above $60,000 is affected. Brutal.
So now one Lucy Thompson also from Britain has to worry about the IRS plunging its meat hooks into her husband’s life insurance and her home in New Jersey the home where the U.S. flag hangs next to the Union Jack. If she moves fast, she might be able to protect the insurance money with a restrictive trust fund.
But why should she have to suffer this assault at all? It’s ironic. The British have been more vocal than anybody in supporting the U.S. during this terrible time. But nobody from anywhere deserves this kind of sledgehammer after losing a loved one. If what’s going on now isn’t an argument to kill the death tax, I don’t know what is.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.