The most underreported provision in Democrats’ multitrillion-dollar spending package is a vastly expanded Child Tax Credit, which would deliver an estimated $25.4 billion to legal and illegal immigrant families in this country.
Though framed in technocratic terms as an upgrade of the existing Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), the new CTC is essentially a guaranteed income program. Expanded monthly cash disbursements of up to $300 for each dependent would go to families that do not pay any income tax.
Abolishing the current program’s work requirements, CTC would spend $95 billion annually on cash payments, about three times ACTC levels. An estimated 57 percent of legal immigrant-headed families with children would get cash from the new program, as would 79 percent of illegal immigrant-headed families. By comparison, 52 percent of native-headed families would receive payments.
Immigrants represent an outsized share of recipients because they are generally less educated and lower skilled. Illegal aliens who work are easily exploited in a shadow economy where pay is low and benefits are nonexistent.
“When immigrants end up making heavy use [of CTC]we should remember that they receive benefits not because of laziness or any other kind of character defect. Rather, immigrants use welfare simply because they have low incomes in a country that transfers a lot of money to low-income people, especially those with children,” remarks Steve Camarota, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies.
If child poverty demands such large, no-strings-attached cash transfers, liberal immigration policies figure into the problem, and must be part of the discussion, Camarota notes.
“We can either hold down the cost of such transfers in the future by enforcing our laws against illegal immigration and by reforming the legal selection system to emphasize skills, or we can resign ourselves to live with the social, political and fiscal consequences of constantly adding to the low-income population through current immigration policy.”
The choice seems clear. And congressional Democrats, in defiance of logic and public opinion, are choosing immigration policies that will further their objective of massive government engineered income distribution.