S.A. Miller, Washington Times, December 10, 2017
President Trump has been willing to accept almost anything to close the deal on his giant tax cut bill before Christmas, including staying mum about a measure that would allow illegal immigrants to pocket the more generous child tax credit included in the package.
Illegal immigrants have been collecting the payoff from the “refundable” tax credit for years because of an IRS interpretation of how the rule was drafted. The Republican-controlled Congress this fall had a chance to correct that in the tax code overhaul that in the Senate version doubled the child tax credit to $2,000 and expanded eligibility.
The House bill increased the child tax credit to $1,600 and upped the income cutoff to receive it.
Both bills neglect to require that the worker have a Social Security number to claim the credit but require only that the qualifying child have a Social Security number.
Under those conditions, illegal immigrant workers with children who benefit from birthright citizenship — a relatively common phenomenon among America’s estimated 12.5 million illegal immigrants — could cash in.
George Mason University law professor David K. Rehr, who teaches legislative advocacy and strategic leadership in Washington, said Mr. Trump is playing the Washington game.
Mr. Rehr said that even the illegal immigrant loophole, which has the potential to outrage Mr. Trump’s base, has to be negotiable to get a bill though the legislative process.