Two weeks ago, as part of sweeping legislation to cut the federal deficit, the House of Representatives passed a budget reconciliation bill that would eliminate the Child Tax Credit for many low-income immigrant families. The measure passed by a vote of 218-199.
Created in 19998, the Child Tax Credit program alleviates the financial burden that many low-income families face in raising their children and making ends meet. Because it was meant to help all low-income children, regardless of the immigration status of their parents, the tax credit is accessible to families who pay their income taxes through the use of an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), an alternative means of paying taxes without a Social Security number.
The importance of the Child Tax Credit cannot be overstated. In 2009, this credit kept 2.3 million individuals, including 1.3 million children, from feeling the depths of poverty. U.S. citizen children from low-income families and whose parents are undocumented immigrants have been able to benefit from the program.
While the act of making up costs by taking money from low-income households seems like a flawed solution, it makes even less sense when considering that ITIN filers have paid more than $7 billion in taxes. Much of that total will go towards Social Security and Medicare, programs from that immigrants benefit from.
Luckily, the Senate does not plan to take up the House budget measure.
However, last week Senator Rubio (R-FL) introduced legislation that would cut the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit for individuals who filed without a Social Security number. In essence, the bill would target U.S. citizen children for the faults of their parents.
Please join LIRS in opposing restrictions to the Child Tax Credit. Visit the LIRS Action Center today to write your members of Congress!