The Republican Party has come up with a way to undermine President Obama’s executive order to protect around four million undocumented immigrants from deportation from the United States – by making use of the tax system.
Congressional Republicans intend to prevent undocumented immigrants claiming retroactive eligibility to the Earned Income Tax Credit by way of legislation that would save the US government as much as $2.1bn, according to non-partisan organization Joint Committee on Taxation. The Republican Party’s latest scheme is based around the idea that the executive order issued by the president will impose an unfairly heavy burden on federal, local and state governments.
The bill’s lead author, Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, insists that the bill has nothing to do with the wider debate over immigration reform but is a simple matter of “correcting what the president has put in place when he legalized people through his November action”. The order given by Obama would have enabled documented immigrants to obtain the Social Security ID they require to file tax returns, which would also have enabled them to claim the refundable credit known as Earned Income Tax Credit.
The Economic Policy Institute’s immigration law and policy research director, Daniel Costa, says that the median yearly salary of four-member undocumented immigrant families is around $40,578, which would ordinarily qualify them for an Earned Income Tax Credit of around $2,000.