As debate rages over who gains and who loses under “tax reform,” there’s one undisputed winner: illegal aliens.
Congress had a golden opportunity to save billions of dollars by enforcing the law and denying child tax credits to illegal immigrants. Instead, lawmakers stretched the law and raised the payout.
The Republican tax package agreed upon by the House and Senate gives the tax credit to illegals with American citizen children (a.k.a. anchor babies). The final GOP tax bill doubled the credit from $1,000 to $2,000 per child and increases the refundable credit to $1,400 per child. The latter is received even if no taxes are paid. Such are the perks of birthright citizenship.
That wasn’t the plan when Congress created the child tax credit. But the IRS has been flouting congressional intent by issuing child tax credit refunds to people without Social Security numbers. Now Congress has bowed to that administrative fiat.
A 2010 federal audit valued tax credits to illegals at $4.2 billion annually. If the law had been enforced as written, with Social Security numbers required, Uncle Sam would have saved more than $40 billion over the past decade.
Instead of fixing the problem, Congress just dug a deeper hole, with no safeguards against fraudsters who loot the program.
In one egregious case, the IRS sent more than $7.2 million in tax-credit refunds to a Virginia woman who filed 1,700 tax returns with stolen identifications used by illegal immigrants, mainly from Mexico.
Lawmakers could have reasserted their original intent: that only U.S. citizens and legal U.S. residents are eligible for the tax break. Alas, common sense and sound public policy rarely survive the backroom deal-cutting that drives year-end sausage-making on Capitol Hill.
American taxpayers may or may not like their new tax schedules, but illegal aliens are laughing all the way to the bank.