GOP Amendment Seeks To Deny Child-Tax Refund To Undocumented Children

A girl at a 2011 immigration protest in Arizona.
A girl protests against Arizona's Senate Bill 1308 and 1309 outside Arizona's State Capitol building in Phoenix, Arizona, February 7, 2011. Reuters/ Joshua Lott

NBC reports that Republican senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire has introduced an amendment to a Democratic military-pension funding bill which would end a child-tax refund for tax filers whose children don’t have a Social Security number.  If passed into law, revenue from the taxes would be used to help refund the December budget deal’s $6 billion cut from military pensions via a slowing down of cost-of-living adjustments for military retirees who are still of working age, according to the network. 

Ayotte had in January introduced a different version of the amendment which would have denied the child-tax refund to all tax filers without a Social Security number, drawing protests from Democrats and immigrant-advocate groups who said it would impact US citizen children.  Ayotte ended up dropping the US citizen children from her plan, which is one of many pushed by Alabama Republican senator Jeff Sessions, a longtime anti-illegal-immigration crusader.

A statement released by her office then said that the credit “currently costs taxpayers billions”, an assertion challenged shortly afterward by Univision analyst Fernando Espuelas in a column for the Hill.  Espuelas pointed out that undocumented immigrants often pay taxes using the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), contributing what he described as a “net multibillion-dollar gain for the federal, state and local treasuries, even when factoring in the Child Tax Credit”.  The Immigration Policy Center wrote in 2009 that in 2001, the ITIN brought in $300 million in taxes from undocumented filers.

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David Iaconangelo is a Brooklyn-based writer and translator.  Formerly editor of ZafraLit, a blog of new short fiction from Cuba.  He has lived in and reported from various Latin American countries.