On April 18, a groaning noise shook America. It was the sound of millions of citizens collectively filing their taxes.
Next year, their tax bill could be even larger if the Supreme Court upholds the Administration’s executive action — the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents. In addition to granting them work permits and de facto legal status, DAPA will enable almost 5 million illegal aliens to file for the Earned Income Tax Credit — not just for 2016, but for the past three years.
Giving billions of dollars in tax credits to illegal aliens won’t just hurt taxpayers — it will also generate public outrage at the tax credit program that provides an economic lifeline to hardworking low-income Americans.
Enacted in 1975, the Earned Income Tax Credit reduces the amount of tax low-to-moderate income workers owe. Many owe negative tax, meaning they receive a refund. In the 2015 tax year, the maximum credit awarded was $6,242.
When President Clinton passed welfare reform in the mid-1990s, political leaders from both parties agreed to limit the EITC to people eligible to receive Social Security. In other words, they barred illegal aliens — who can’t legally obtain Social Security numbers — from applying for and receiving the credit.
DAPA would grant illegal aliens Social Security numbers, enabling them to apply for the credit. The Congressional Research Service estimates that each DAPA recipient will qualify for $35,000 in earned income and child tax credits. Altogether, that will cost the United States $7.8 billion each year, plus another $23.5 billion in one-time claims as illegal aliens file amended returns for past years.
That would place an enormous — and enormously unfair — burden on citizen taxpayers.
Giving EITC to illegal aliens would also endanger the future of the EITC. When the American public realizes the EITC pays illegal aliens billions of dollars a year, the backlash could be so intense that lawmakers scrap the program altogether.
That’d be disastrous for the millions of Americans who depend on the tax credit to pay rent and put food on their families’ tables.
The tax code shouldn’t reward illegal behavior. Yet that’s exactly what will happen if the Supreme Court upholds DAPA.