Republicans target child tax-break 'free-funds' for illegal immigrants

Republicans and some Democrats say what’s crazy is even having a debate over whether the government should be cutting checks to people who have sneaked into 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.

In this July 8, 2011 file photo, House Social Security subcommittee Chairman Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas presided over the subcommittee’s hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Republicans are pushing a proposal that would halt what amounts to an IRS-administered entitlement that provides “free-funds” to low-income illegal immigrant filers who take advantage of a child tax credit to receive government payments that average about $1,800.

The proposal would require people filing tax returns to prove they’re legal workers. The effort has roused anger among Hispanics and some Democratic lawmakers. But it’s being offered as a way to help pay for extending the payroll tax cut and is projected to trim federal spending by about $10 billion over a decade. The IRS checks average about $1,800.

The debate addresses a quirk in U.S. law. Even people who are not authorized to work in the U.S. are supposed to file returns with the IRS. Many of those people cannot obtain a Social Security number, so to facilitate this the IRS hands out what are known as Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers — so illegal workers can file returns.

However, in doing so many of those workers are claiming tax benefits. For some, it’s a way of making even more money. The IRS pays the tax filers, which for some amounts to an IRS-administered welfare program.


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