Rep. Messer Op Ed: Eliminating tax credits for illegal immigrants

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Washington, October 24, 2017 | comments

It’s no secret that America’s immigration system is broken. Illegal immigration threatens our national security and costs American taxpayers billions of dollars each year.

Most Hoosiers get it. We can’t continue to reward folks who come to our country illegally, while those who work hard and play by the rules struggle to get ahead. That’s why I’m working to get a provision I authored to end tax credits for illegal immigrants included in President Trump’s tax cut plan.

Right now, billions of dollars in refundable tax credits are being paid out to illegal immigrants through a loophole in our tax system. Child Tax Credits can be claimed without a Social Security Number by using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, which is issued to individuals regardless of immigration status.


The cost of this broken policy has fallen squarely on the shoulders of the people it’s designed to help – hardworking American families. And the numbers are astounding.

A U.S. Treasury Inspector General report estimated that up to $7.1 billion is paid out each year to illegal immigrants and individuals illegally claiming children through the Child Tax Credit. For context, that’s equivalent to the State of Indiana’s entire annual budget for K-12 education.

What’s worse, a Channel 13 news investigation in Indiana found that illegal immigrants were claiming the credit for children and other relatives who didn’t even live in the United States, sometimes claiming up to 10 or 12 dependents at a time.

To close this senseless loophole and protect U.S. taxpayers, I filed legislation that would require individuals to have a Social Security Number valid for employment before they can claim the Child Tax Credit. President Trump included my proposal in his budget request to Congress, and now I’m urging my colleagues to include it in our tax reform package.

The Child Tax Credit is supposed to provide low- and middle-income Americans relief – up to $1,000 per child – to help support their families. But instead, billions in tax dollars are padding the pockets of those who game the system. If we close this loophole, that money can instead be used to expand the Child Tax Credit for law-abiding, American families.


I applaud President Trump for his leadership in addressing both our outdated tax system and illegal immigration. We have a once-in-a-generation chance to pass a bold plan to cut middle-class taxes and simplify our overly complicated federal tax code. At the same time, we can save taxpayer dollars and stop rewarding people who come to our country illegally.

I’ll continue to work with President Trump to deliver commonsense policies that put law-abiding, hardworking Hoosiers first.

Rep. Luke Messer serves as Congressman for Indiana’s 6th Congressional District.

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