As ThinkProgress has reported, congressional Republicans are exploiting the necessity of extending the payroll tax cut and the looming government shutdown to push their conservative agenda. Their radical demands have nothing to do with the matters at hand, and include provisions to restrict abortion in DC, gut life-saving environmental regulations, and raise taxes on Medicare retirees.
Never able to pass up an opportunity to scapegoat immigrants, Republicans have also shoe-horned in a provision prohibiting eligible immigrant taxpayers from receiving a refundable Child Tax Credit. Immigration Impact notes that Republicans are trying to move four million American children closer to poverty, just in time for the holidays:
The tax package that is likely to pass the House and make its way to the Senate this week denies immigrant taxpayers who file their taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) the ability to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit for their U.S. citizen children. This provision will impact 2 million families and up to 4 million U.S. citizen children and take away a tax credit designed to keep children out of poverty.
Child tax credits can only be claimed by those paying into the system and were designed to alleviate some of the burden that tax payment imposes on low-income, working families. Taking away this credit from tax-paying families could drive more than two million families closer to poverty.
The National Council of La Raza issued a statement on the proposal:
“We support congressional efforts to pass tax relief and believe that there are many ways to pay for it that do not result in harming some of the most economically vulnerable families across the nation,” said Eric Rodriguez, Vice President of the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at NCLR. “The Child Tax Credit is probably one of the most effective ways to provide relief to workers raising children, and the refundable credit is even more critical to workers earning low wages. It’s outrageous that of all the options that lawmakers have on the table to pay for tax relief, this is the one that they would choose.”
Despite paying their fair shares in taxes, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for the vast majority of benefits their tax dollars support. In 2010 ITIN filers contributed an estimated $9.2 billion in payroll taxes, or “ten times the amount that would be saved by stripping the child tax credit away from the children of ITIN filers.”
NCLR notes that poverty among Hispanics is even higher than was previously known, in large part because many are unable to use important anti-poverty programs. Republicans may be taking aim at undocumented immigrants, but they are actually hurting their U.S. citizen children (who many Republicans of course do not consider American at all).