End tax credit for illegal workers' kids?
A proposal would make illegal immigrants ineligible for the child tax credit and use that money for the payroll tax cut. Opponents say that's not fair to the children, who are often US citizens.
This post is by Andrew Taylor of The Associated Press.
Republicans are looking to deny child tax credits to illegal immigrants -- refund checks averaging $1,800 a family -- in an effort that has roused anger among Hispanics and some Democratic lawmakers.
The proposal, which would require people who claim the federal credit to have Social Security numbers to prove they're legal workers, is being offered as a way to help pay for extending the Social Security tax cut for most U.S. wage-earners. It would trim federal spending by about $10 billion over a decade.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada says the proposal unfairly goes after the children of poor Hispanic workers. Such kids often are U.S. citizens, even when their parents aren't, because they were born in this country.
Says Leticia Miranda, senior policy adviser of the National Council of La Raza: "People who are making close to the minimum wage and are raising children in this country -- and we're asking them to pay for the payroll tax cut?" She says, "It's outrageous and it's crazy."
On the other side, Republicans and some Democrats say what's crazy is even having a debate over whether the government should be cutting checks to people who are in the country illegally. It's hard to imagine there isn't a healthy majority, even in the Democratic-controlled Senate, to stop the practice -- if it's actually brought to a vote.
"We have rules about tax credits and benefits, and it seems to me they need to be applied fairly and across the board," said Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill, who is facing a difficult re-election bid in Missouri. "If there are rules, they need to be enforced. I think it's just that simple. I don't think it's complicated." (Post continues below video.)
Illegal immigrants have been barred from other refundable tax credits -- in which low-income workers not only don't owe income taxes but receive payments from the government -- such as the earned income tax credit. Such credits are a popular anti-poverty tool in part because a recipient has to hold a job to receive the benefit.
But a 1997 law enacting a $500-per-child tax credit doesn't specifically exclude illegal immigrants from collecting. It was significantly expanded in 2001 to gradually reach $1,000, and rules were eased so that many more people could get it on a refundable basis. It was further expanded in 2009 so that more taxpayers could claim the credit or claim a larger amount. The credit increase is slated to expire at the end of the year along with other Bush-era tax cuts and return to $500 per child, though it's commonly assumed that it will remain up to $1,000 per child.
"Although the law prohibits aliens residing without authorization in the United States from receiving most federal public benefits, an increasing number of these individuals are filing tax returns claiming this refundable credit," Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, said when the House debated the payroll tax cut measure in December. "Illegal immigrants bilked $4.2 billion from the U.S. taxpayers (in 2010). I think that it's time that we fixed it."
The situation has Democrats in a box. If they fight the GOP effort to cut back payments of the tax credit, they'll be favoring the delivery of refunds to people who not only don't owe income taxes but aren't supposed to be in the country in the first place.
What's more, closing the loophole would raise real money -- an estimated $10 billion over 10 years under the approach favored by House Republicans.
The Treasury Department says that in the 2010 filing year more than $4 billion in child credit refunds went to 2.3 million people who filed tax returns but didn't have Social Security numbers proving they were citizens or legal workers. That's a four-fold increase over five years earlier.
On the other side are politically influential Hispanic groups, a key Democratic-friendly constituency. Opponents of tightening eligibility for the child tax credit point out that six of every seven affected families are Hispanic, with an average household income of about $21,000. Tax credits of up to $1,000 per child make a huge difference at such income levels.
Hispanics point out that in many instances the tax credit goes to workers who aren't citizens but whose children are -- because they've been born in the country and therefore have Social Security numbers of their own. They say such children should reap the benefit of the tax credit just like other children in comparable economic circumstances.
"I just think the child tax credit is working just fine and there's no need to punish children," Reid said last week. "We're supposed to try to be helping them."
One option under consideration is to require tax filers to supply a Social Security number for the child when claiming the tax credit instead of requiring that at least one of the parents possesses one. That would respond to criticism that the GOP proposal is unfair to the citizen children of illegal immigrants.
"We're not in favor of fraudulent payments or payments that shouldn't be made, but we don't want to create obstacles to supporting low-income families who are trying to care for their children," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. "Even though the parent doesn't have a Social Security number, they could still be entitled under their tax return, for a child tax credit."
Congress needs to find about $160 billion between now and the end of the month to cover the costs of extending through Dec. 31 a Social Security tax cut averaging about $20 a week for 160 million workers, federal unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless and unreduced Medicare fees for doctors. All are now due to expire Feb. 29.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Republicans are looking to deny child tax credits to illegal immigrants
So what he's saying is that in order to keep his senate seat he will fight against what is in the best interest of the citizens of Nevada, not the United States of America. That's about as un- American and unpatriotic to his own country as I've heard in a long time.
ALL Illegal immigrants should not be able to file for any tax credits until they're legal period. Not just Hispanic workers as Senator Reid specifies.
My "grandparents" (great-great) were all dirt poor LEGAL immigrants from Europe in the latter 1800's. So they weren't illegals - nor did they steal land from Mexico, the Indians, or own slaves, or the other multitude of "sins" placed at the feet of "rich white people". They just learned the language, worked their tails off as sharecroppers, raised their families and tried to save a penny for their own piece of dirt. 100 years later some of their decendants were able to start graduating from college.
And they didn't get an income tax refund either.
Great comments people (especially abcd99).
STOP THE FREE HANDOUTS to illegal's.
I work 40 hours a week for the government and make $30,032 a year BEFORE taxes and medical are taken out. And my part of medical is going UP AGAIN this year.
How on gods green earth does somebody living off hand outs make $32,748. This is CRAZY.
I loath the fact that illegal's are rewarded for illegal behavior.
Can I sell drugs or break other laws and be rewarded? NO - They would collect more money from me or any other legal citizen.
The non profits that help these illegal's get more money than you realize to help these citizens. This needs to stop too. Some of these non profit leaders are getting salaries over $100,000 a year - THIS IS NOT "non profit" in my books.
I immigrated from Europe some thirty years ago when the language was English. I came as a legal immigrant and worked my A__ off to get where I am today as a business owner.
I worked the farm fields and had my paper route, worked my way through College and served this country as a legal immigrant.
Do you know anything about defending this country and the constitution it was founded on? We as Veterans defend the freedom and the liberty for all, but that means for anyone that is American or a legal American.
It's about Illegal versus Legal period.
I'm not part of the 1% and never will be, but I'll be d____d if I'm going allow to have my fortune, that I remind you worked my A__ off for, to be redistributed to people who are Illegal or unwilling to provide for themselves.
omg47, I totally agree, STOP THE FREE HANDOUTS to illegal's
The correct number is $14B last year for children of illegals via this tax credit.
Get a brain.
Simple solution here, If you are a liberal, YOU pay for all the little illegal bastards.
You could set up a fund for these kids for all liberals to dump thier millions into. Funny thing is, not a dime would be deposited as we all know the liberal agenda is to get everyone else to pay for thier entitlement programs.
If the government is taking tax money from illegal aliens, and it most certainly is, then they should be entitled to the same tax benefits (and penalties) as anyone else who pays taxes. And the amount of money the government takes in from illegals is FAR greater than the child care benefit.
The illegals are here and they're not going to be shipped back to where they came from because if that happened half the hotels in the country would go out of business and nobody could get his lawn mowed. As long as we're going to perpetuate this underclass that we really DON'T want to do without, the least we can do is honor our rhetoric about hard work and afford to the hardest working people in America the same tax structure that we give to any trust fund twit. And get tax money from people who can well afford it and get privileges which not even American citizens enjoy -- like the carried interest leeches.
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