Negotiations have started in Congress to extend the current Social Security payroll tax cut before the end of February. Unfortunately, proposals that negatively impact the children of immigrants have also emerged as part of this process.
Unlike the attitude toward tax breaks for the wealthiest, where the possibility to increase the deficit has not been considered, a group of Republicans wants to offset the costs of extending a benefit for the working class.
To that end, they are seeking to eliminate a child tax credit for those who pay their taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) instead of a Social Security Number.
This proposal, which was earlier presented as a bill, is a tough blow for poor families. These taxpayers contribute to federal coffers, but some would like to exclude them from receiving tax benefits. This is neither fair nor reasonable.
Estimates show that if the negotiation for this measure is successful, almost 4 million American children will be affected. In 2010, the average child tax credit was $1,800 for families filing with an ITIN and an average income of $21,240.
Losing this tax credit would have a concrete, considerable impact on low-income families.
The current payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits should be extended. These extensions would be helpful now that the economy and the job market are experiencing difficult times.
However, we think the extensions should not come at the expense of hurting the poorest people. If it is a matter of searching for funds to balance spending, then take a look at the highest earners instead of focusing on the most vulnerable and lowest income people.