Sen. Jeff Sessions’ office calculated that, based on recent trends, illegal immigrants could receive roughly $7.4 billion through a provision known as the Additional Child Tax Credit. That’s more than quadruple what the payout was four years ago, but the payments have been steadily increasing over the past decade.
Though illegal immigrants are prohibited from receiving similar tax credits, a quirk in the law allows them to qualify for the child tax credit. And it’s a “refundable” credit, meaning recipients can reap the money — with average checks totaling about $1,800 — even if they’ve paid no taxes.
An aide to Sessions, R-Ala., the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said the issue is a “serious matter that deserves attention” and another sign of how “Washington is disconnected from reality.”
Illegal immigrants can qualify because even people not authorized to work in the U.S. are supposed to file returns with the IRS. If they don’t have a Social Security number, they are provided what’s known as an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number in order to file returns.
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