Great news for Mexico’s economy.
In their bipartisan zeal to quickly cut a deal on an economic stimulus bill, GOP lawmakers overlooked something that will certainly inflame the conservative base _ illegal immigrants could receive a tax rebate check from the government.
The text of the House passed bill contains language making “non resident aliens” _ illegal immigrants _ ineligible for the tax rebates. But every year, hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants use individual taxpayer identification numbers, known as ITINs, to file income tax returns with the IRS. These ID numbers are used instead of Social Security numbers. There are no exact statistics for how many illegal immigrants file tax returns, but this New York Times story from last year details the significant increase in use of ITINs. This story also lays out the issue.
Immigration advocates point out that many legal immigrants use ITINs, so it would be impossible to outlaw rebates for everyone who uses this form of ID in tax returns.
Republicans who were involved in negotiating the bipartisan economic stimulus package would like to avoid the illegal immigration debate as the $146 billion bill comes to the Senate this week. Congressional aides say the problem is that the IRS is not a law enforcement agency, so it doesn’t check immigration status when people file tax returns.
“The reality is that those who filed a tax return will be eligible” for tax rebates of $600 to $1,200, said Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.). “This [issue] has not been addressed” by the senators writing the bill.
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