Biden’s so-called ‘tax credit’ is actually welfare for illegal immigrants
In the 1990s, Congress prohibited illegal immigrants from receiving taxpayer-funded social benefits. The bipartisan Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Act of 1996, enacted by President Bill Clinton, ensured that taxpayers’ money would not be used to illegally subsidize people in the country.
The Biden administration and Democrats in Congress have now started to use the IRS and the tax code to circumvent this common sense policy under the guise of a “child tax credit.” Passed by the American Rescue Plan Act, the credit has been touted year round by Democrats, declaring a victory for taxpayer families. What they failed to mention, however, is that the program also makes direct cash payments to so-called “taxpayers” who do not declare or pay taxes, including illegal immigrants.
While many working families have benefited from Trump’s tax cuts and could benefit from further tax relief, the Biden administration’s new credit is not limited to U.S. taxpayers. To qualify for the credit, a person simply needs to have a tax identification number and a child who has a social security number. The person does not have to work or file taxes. And there isn’t even a requirement that the individual be in the country legally. While that program is currently only in effect for 2021, Democrats in Congress have made it a priority to include a permanent extension in their recent multibillion-dollar spending proposals.
If Democrats want to offer tax relief to hard-working families, there is already a framework that would allow them to do so without turning the relief into a welfare program for illegal immigrants. The working income tax credit has been around for years with bipartisan support. Unlike the new Biden credit, the EITC only applies to those who actually pay taxes. There is also a monthly prepayment option under the EITC. But just raising the EITC would not allow Biden and Congressional Democrats to provide direct pay to those who are not working or who are in the country illegally.
One of the many consequences of this democratic regime is that it encourages people who have left the labor market to remain unemployed, even when their improved unemployment benefits run out. Businesses across the country are already struggling to find workers as many workers stay at home and collect benefits. This new Democratic grant to those who are not looking to find work will no doubt prolong these crippling effects on our businesses and our economy.
Even Democratic Senator Joe Manchin recently called for a work requirement to go along with credit. Such a requirement would remove the incentive for beneficiaries to stay at home and earn money while unemployed. A work requirement, if properly implemented, would also prohibit illegal immigrants who are not permitted to work in the United States from receiving this benefit.
In addition, the program does not count as income when calculating other benefits, which many inactive beneficiaries are likely to receive. Typically, an increase in income would affect benefits such as food stamps, social housing or social assistance. But payments under the Democrats’ program are incorrectly classified as “tax credits” and therefore do not affect the amount of other benefits received.
So how much will this grant to non-taxpayers and illegal immigrants cost? According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, this benefit will cost taxpayers more than $ 80 billion in 2021 alone. How will the Democrats seek to pay for this? By raising taxes for working families and small businesses, of course.
How’s that for a tax credit?
Taxpaying families have been duped into believing that they really benefit from this misguided program, when in fact they have been the victims of a larger plan to expand the US welfare state. This program should not be extended until it can be implemented without making payments to “taxpayers” who do not actually pay taxes or to illegal immigrants. Until these changes are made, this thinly veiled benefit plan will only hurt working families who will have to foot the bill.
representing Greg Steube represents Florida’s 17th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.