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Luke messer interview

Roll Call: Tax ID Used by Immigrants Targeted in GOP Tax Bill

A provision in the GOP tax overhaul bill unveiled Thursday would require all taxpayers claiming the federal child tax credit to use a valid Social Security number, rather than the tax identification number used by undocumented immigrants with children who are U.S. citizens.

Under the measure, all taxpayers would be required to provide a work-eligible Social Security number to claim the refundable portion of the child tax credit or the American Opportunity Tax Credit. Similar legislation was introduced in January by Republican Policy Committee Chairman Luke Messer of Indiana, with the aim of preventing undocumented immigrants from claiming the $1,000 tax credit with their Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITIN).

Messer has said the change is needed to cut down on fraud and abuse and to end what he characterized as a “reward” for people who came to the country illegally. He cited a 2014 report by the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration that estimated undocumented immigrants were receiving between $5.9 and $7.1 billion each year from the credit.

“We can’t continue to reward people who come to our country illegally, while those who work hard and play by the rules struggle to get ahead,” Messer said on the House floor in October. “My legislation would stop billions of taxpayer dollars from going to illegal immigrants by eliminating a loophole in our tax code.”

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