Conservative immigration reformers have been trying to change policy for several years
Caller News Foundation) The Republican tax reform bill would still
allow illegal immigrants to claim a key tax credit, despite earlier
calls from conservative lawmakers to end what they say is a
multi-billion dollar annual reward for lawbreakers.
Under both the
House and Senate versions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, illegal
immigrants with taxpayer identification numbers may claim the child tax credit for any of their U.S.-born children.
original version of the Republican tax bill introduced in the House
Ways and Means Committee stipulated that the refundable credit would not
be available unless the “taxpayer includes the taxpayer’s Social
Security number on the return of tax for such taxable year.”
other words, illegal immigrants, who don’t have legitimate social
security numbers, would be ineligible for the credit, regardless of
their children’s citizenship status.
the bill was marked up in committee, though, the provision was amended
with language mandating only that the qualifying child have a social
security number, not the taxpayer.
The amended language allows
illegal immigrants to continue claiming the credit, which would be
doubled to $2,000 per child, for their U.S. citizen children.
little-noticed modification to the GOP tax bill largely preserves a tax
policy that conservative immigration reformers have been trying change
for several years.
Critics of paying child tax credits to illegal
aliens say the practice invites fraudulent claims and amounts to a
multi-billion dollar subsidy for people who have broken U.S. immigration
They also argue the credit itself is a magnet for illegal
immigration, a claim the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax
Administration supported in a 2011 report.
payment of Federal funds through this tax benefit appears to provide an
additional incentive for aliens to enter, reside, and work in the
United States without authorization,” TIGTA wrote.
A 1996 law
makes illegal aliens “not eligible for any federal public benefit,” but
the IRS has interpreted the law to mean that a tax filer only has to
show a taxpayer identification number to receive the child tax credit.
That interpretation translates to a huge subsidy: In 2013, 4.4 million filers using a taxpayer identification number claimed child tax credits worth $6 billion, according to a 2013 GAO report.
GOP tax bill as currently written misses an opportunity to clarify
eligibility requirements for the child tax credit, according to Jan
Ting, a law professor and board member of the Center for Immigration
“On the campaign trail, Donald Trump spoke of the
‘tremendous costs’ illegal aliens pose to the country through ‘abuse
[of] our welfare system,’” he wrote in a blog post
Monday. “Unfortunately, for reasons that are unclear, Republicans
changed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in order to continue to permit the IRS
to pay billions of dollars every year to illegal aliens through the
child tax credit.”
Even with the softer eligibility requirements,
the bill does include a change to the child tax policy was proposed in
the original committee version.
Under the revised language, legal
and illegal immigrants must provide a social security number for each
child they use to claim the credit, which is likely to cut down on
fraudulent child tax credit claims.
Many illegal immigrants fraudulently claim the child tax credit for dependents living in other countries, contributing to billions of dollars worth of improper payments each year.
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