The millions of undocumented immigrants set to be protected from deportation and given work permits as a result of President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform could be in for a further benefit from the move in the form of a windfall from none other than the IRS.
Undocumented immigrants who have been residing in the United States for many years will have new Social Security numbers assigned to them, making them eligible to claim tax credits for the last four years. The tax credits are intended to help the working poor and could amount to a total of almost $24,000 for larger families, providing they can show how much they earned during this time.
The news has given the Republicans yet another reason to oppose the president’s executive action, with some accusing him of giving “amnesty bonuses”. “I represent hard-working, law-abiding Texans,” claims senior Republican Representative Sam Johnson, who sits on the Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives. “I think these amnesty rewards, and that’s what they are, need to be stopped.”
Immigration advocates point out that many undocumented immigrants have been paying taxes for years, despite receiving no benefits, and are thus entitled to get the same kind of tax credits afforded to other taxpayers. The chief actuary of Social Security, Stephen Goss, says that undocumented immigrants have paid around $100bn in payroll taxes over the course of the last ten years.