Final Tax Bill Keeps Senate’s Loophole for Illegals Against House Hawks’ Wishes

Illegal immigrants line up for work permits

The final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed Wednesday by the House and headed to President Donald Trump’s desk, will still allow illegal aliens to claim a lucrative child tax credit.

After immigration hawks in the House included a provision to require Social Security numbers (SSNs) for tax filers claiming the Additional Child Tax Credit, the language was significantly watered down in the Senate. The final version appears to allow even more illegal aliens to claim credits. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, however, still represents a major improvement over the current tax code, which allowed full utilization of child tax credits by illegals, even for children who were themselves illegal aliens.

The credit is now more valuable than ever because, at Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) insistence, the maximum refundable credit will increase from $1,000 per child to $1,100 per child in 2018 and then rise to $1,400.

The IRS typically allows illegal aliens to file taxes using something called Taxpayer Identification Number. Under the existing tax code, this was all that was needed to claim the Child Tax Credit, which is refundable, meaning it effectively puts cash in the hands of those claiming it. The House’s original version would block most illegals from claiming the credit, as only citizens and work-authorized aliens get SSNs. The original Senate version required SSNs only for the children themselves, allowing illegals with U.S. citizen or otherwise legal children – “anchor babies,” for example, or even minors covered by Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – to claim the benefit.

Exactly which senators or staffers were responsible for the changes is unclear.

When the bill came back for its Senate-House conference, voices in the House, including Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN), who wrote the original House language, vowed to fight the changes made in the Senate to allow more illegals to claim the refundable Additional Child Tax Credit.

“We can’t continue to reward people who come to our country illegally, while those who work hard and play by the rules struggle to get ahead,” Messer told Breitbart News at the time. “I’m working to get [the fix] included in the final tax cut plan.”

Messer penned a letter to the relevant leaders in his conference, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), urging them to fix the bill and restore his original language.

Unfortunately for proponents of pro-American immigration reform, that call went unheeded, and, as Center for Immigration Studies’ (CIS) David North wrote Tuesday, the conference sessions saw yet another carveout for illegals inserted into the bill. A non-refundable $500 tax credit is now potentially available even to illegals with illegal alien children. As it is non-refundable, illegal alien parents would have to pay a significant amount of income tax to claim this other credit.

Messer indicated he will be introducing independent legislation, as he did in January, to prevent illegal aliens from claiming these tax credits. Two other bills have been pending in the House to do the same since April: H.R. 2149, introduced by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), and H.R. 1919, introduced by Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA). Each gained more co-sponsors than Messer’s January bill, but have not been taken up by the Ways and Means Committee.

“Tax credits should not be [awarded] to illegal immigrants. I was encouraged when President Trump included our proposal in his tax reform plan, but those in the U.S. Senate once again blocked the president’s agenda,” Messer told Breitbart News. “The U.S. Senate watered down the proposal behind closed doors, siding with illegal immigrants over the American taxpayer. I will keep fighting to fully close this loophole and end incentives to those who break our laws.”


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