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Blog: Speak Up Now to Oppose Congressional Targeting of Poor Children

Feb 01, 2012 | By Mary Ellen Lacy, D.C.

TODAY and TOMORROW, join Mind the Gap! activists around the country and call (202) 224-3121. Ask to be connected with House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, members of the tax package conference and your representative to tell them that you OPPOSE funding the payroll tax credit on the backs of working families and their children. See below for more information.

The House is pushing legislative action that would deny child tax credit refunds for those filing taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) rather than a Social Security Number (SSN). ITINs are issued to non-citizens who are present in the U.S. on valid, temporary visas or are present without papers. They do not replace the need for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Nonimmigrant aliens and undocumented persons do not qualify for a SSN so they are issued the personal ITINs, which merely enable the worker to pay his/her federal taxes. The IRS states that it does not exchange any information with the Department of Homeland Security.

Presently, the Child Tax Credit allows taxpayers to file for a credit that is generally computed pursuant to the number of minor, citizen dependents. An impoverished person, who qualifies for some relief in the form of a tax credit, could file for the credit and be eligible for a refund of a portion of their taxes. For those already living on the margins, the cash refunds, called the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) are an income supplement and anti-poverty tool, much like the older, more established Earned Income Tax Credit. see: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0112/71370_Page2.html#ixzz1l8x0DooQ. The proposed legislation would remove the possibility of cash refunds from those filing with ITINs.

Given that their income is already so low, the credits typically allow for a refund for those living in poverty. Further, the proposal makes no distinction between the lawfully present and working person with an ITIN and the undocumented immigrant who uses an ITIN. Neither would be able to receive this credit refund. In the end, we will have another piece of legislation that further marginalizes the people in poverty instead of taxing the wealthiest.

It has been estimated that two million families are headed by undocumented workers. They have been paying taxes without hope of SSI or Medicaid/Medicare assistance in their futures. All of them will be denied this credit which, in turn, will plunge many impoverished people into further poverty.

Alternatively, it will push more desperate families further into the shadows and force them to refrain from paying taxes just so they may feed their citizen children. Some Members of Congress fiercely protect the tax breaks for the wealthy and move to balance the budget on the backs of the poor. It is time to say, ENOUGH!