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Luke Messer Senate

Messer: Eliminating tax credits for workers here illegally

It’s no secret that America’s immigration system is broken. Illegal immigration threatens our national security and costs American taxpayers billions of dollars each year.

Most Hoosiers get it. We can’t continue to reward folks who come to our country illegally, while those who work hard and play by the rules struggle to get ahead. That’s why I’m working to get a provision I authored to end tax credits for immigrants in the U.S. illegally included in President Trump’s tax cut plan.

Right now, billions of dollars in refundable tax credits are being paid out to immigrants through a loophole in our tax system. Child Tax Credits can be claimed without a Social Security Number by using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, which is issued to individuals regardless of immigration status.

The cost of this broken policy has fallen squarely on the shoulders of the people it’s designed to help – hardworking American families. And the numbers are astounding.

A U.S. Treasury Inspector General report estimated that up to $7.1 billion is paid out each year to immigrants here illegally and individuals illegally claiming children through the Child Tax Credit. For context, that’s equivalent to the state of Indiana’s entire annual budget for K-12 education.

What’s worse, a Channel 13 news investigation in Indiana found that illegal immigrants were claiming the credit for children and other relatives who didn’t even live in the United States, sometimes claiming up to 10 or 12 dependents at a time.

To close this senseless loophole and protect U.S. taxpayers, I filed legislation that would require individuals to have a Social Security Number valid for employment before they can claim the Child Tax Credit. President Trump included my proposal in his budget request to Congress, and now I’m urging my colleagues to include it in our tax reform package.

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