Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012 | 3:33 p.m.
Reviving an issue raised during the payroll tax debate on Capitol Hill just before the New Year, Republicans have proposed eliminating a provision that allows U.S. workers who do not have a Social Security number but do have an individual tax identification number to apply for a federal child tax credit.
The proposal would help pay for an extension of the payroll tax cut, and close what lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called a loophole that allows people in the country illegally to receive federal benefits.
Immigrant advocates have pointed out that in many cases while the parents may be here illegally, their children are often U.S. citizens.
The refund checks now average $1,800 and at the end of this year the tax credit is set to go down to $500 per child. The proposal projects that cutting the rolls would save the government $10 billion during the next decade.
An excerpt from the Associated Press article:
Illegal immigrants have been barred from other refundable tax credits, such as the earned income tax credit for lower-income workers. But a 1997 law enacting the child tax credit doesn’t specifically exclude them from collecting that separate benefit. It was significantly expanded in 2001 and 2009 so that many more people are eligible for refundable credits, though the expanded credit is slated to expire at the end of the year along with other Bush-era tax cuts.
“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.”