A new bill on Capitol Hill would free up funds for the border wall by closing welfare and tax loopholes that benefit illegal aliens.
The National Immigration Forum calls the Republican-sponsored WALL Act “desperate.” Indeed, it looks like a Hail Mary, given that Democrats – united in opposition to President Donald Trump’s proposed border barrier — will take control of the House next month.
But media characterizations of the measure as “highly controversial” are desperate in their own way. The only controversy – a scandal, really — is illegal aliens collecting billions of dollars in unentitled welfare benefits and tax refunds.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has pushed Food Stamps on illegal aliens for years. The Internal Revenue Service issued an estimated $296 billion tax breaks and refunds to illegal aliens and their employers over the past decade.
According to the latest FAIR research, illegal aliens collected $5.849 billion in welfare benefits last year and garnered another $6.743 billion in tax credits and rebates.
The WALL Act would curb these illegal runs on the Treasury by reasonably requiring recipients to have their own Social Security numbers (not their children’s and not easily obtained ITINs — Individual Tax Identification Numbers). The measure would also tighten citizenship verification procedures to receive Food Stamps, welfare, housing and other government benefits.
Together with increased fines on illegal border crossers and new penalties for visa overstays, the bill’s backers say it will raise and save $33 billion over 10 years toward construction of a $25 billion wall.
The $33 billion figure, conservative according to FAIR’s findings, should be a wake-up call for Democrats who blissfully maintain the fiction that illegal aliens do not any receive welfare benefits or tax credits to which they are not entitled. Every lawmaker – whatever their political stripe — should at least agree that eligibility requirements enacted by Congress must be enforced.
Fixing welfare and tax loopholes is a big job, and years of bureaucratic buck-passing and benign neglect won’t be corrected in three weeks by a lame-duck Congress. But lawmakers must not shrink from their duty.
As a recent editorial asked: “Is it fair for hardworking Americans to pay billions of dollars in benefits to those here illegally?”
Sponsors of the WALL Act see a clear nexus between this country’s jobs-benefits magnet and our unsecured border. The American public gets it, too. Erecting the wall with proceeds from a properly run tax and welfare system would go a long way toward building citizens’ faith in the competence of their government. Your move, Congress.