Conservatives Riled Up Because Migrants Can Claim Child Tax Credit Now Being Expanded by Congress

There’s just one problem with their complaints — President Trump was the one who initially allowed the practice.

AP/Denis Poroy, file
Asylum-seekers after crossing the border on September 26, 2023, near Jacumba Hot Springs, California. AP/Denis Poroy, file

Conservatives on social media are incensed that a bipartisan tax bill will allow illegal immigrants to claim the benefits from an expanded child tax credit as long as their children have Social Security numbers. There’s just one problem with their stance: It was President Trump who initially signed off on the measure. 

The bipartisan tax deal, which is known as the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act and was negotiated by two committee chairmen — one House Republican and one Senate Democrat — would expand the child tax credit and bring back new research and development credits for businesses. It would also leave in place the policy allowing illegal immigrants to claim the credit, something conservatives online have now latched onto as proof that the credit should not be expanded. 

Mr. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 barred illegal immigrants from claiming the tax credit if they do not have Social Security numbers but still allows parents with children who have legal status — regardless of their own immigration status — to claim the credit. 

“The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act maintains the child tax credit structure of the 2017 GOP tax reform,” one of the bill’s authors, Congressman Jason Smith, writes. “It provides no special loopholes for illegal immigrants. It still requires a Social Security number to claim the child tax credit. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act instilled this requirement, and the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act upholds it.”

Several conservative social media users have raged against the bill, claiming that Mr. Smith’s legislation would expand the benefit to illegal immigrants. One user known as “Wall Street Silver” on X, who frequently interacts with the site’s owner, Elon Musk, is one of the more prominent examples. 

“Congress is trying to ram thru a bill to expand welfare benefits for illegals crossing the border,” the user wrote. “They are advertising the legislation as tax relief, but it is a trojan horse where the title has nothing to do with the actual language in the legislation.”

A budget analyst at the Heritage Foundation and a former congressional staffer, Richard Stern, pointed out that while he disagrees with the credit being claimed by non-eligible parents, it is a fact that it was Mr. Trump — not Mr. Smith — who is responsible. 

The bill is “subsidizing Illegal Aliens,” Mr. Stern says. “Under current law, illegal aliens who have children that were born in the U.S. (and many do) can claim welfare benefits from the ACTC. The Ways and Means bill expands these welfare payments for millions of people who are in the U.S. illegally, and for millions more entering in the future — exacerbating a current design flaw in the program.”

Another pro-Trump social media user, known as “Travis in Flint,” echoed that claim. 

“Why is this called the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act when it includes welfare expansion for illegals?” he asked facetiously. “I can’t be the only one who’s sick and tired of DC giving us crumbs and labeling the bill as something good while they fill it with pork. Every single bill benefits someone other than Americans.”

In response, the Ways and Means Committee’s Republican majority staff responded on X, saying it was a lie. “Don’t let narratives get in the way of hard facts,” the committee staff wrote. “This bill does NOT open the door to new child tax credit claims by illegal immigrants. All the protections to the Child Tax Credit that Republicans implemented under President Trump remain in place.”

A liberal blog, Prosperity Now, wrote in 2021 that President Biden should expand the child tax credit to the parents of immigrant children who do not have Social Security numbers as part of the American Rescue Plan. “A child’s immigration status should not bar them from accessing benefits that can improve their lives for years to come,” a policy analyst wrote. 

Mr. Biden and congressional Democrats ultimately excluded expanding the tax credit to those ineligible migrants.

The New York Sun

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