By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) The Trump administration could extract “billions” of dollars from illegal aliens, thereby reducing the amount of money lost by the U.S. Treasury and taxpayers every year, by adopting three new policies, the Center for Immigration Studies argues in a new report.
“More than two and half years into the president’s term, his administration continues to battle illegal alien entries at the southern border, but seems oblivious to three different ways to collect billions of dollars from illegal aliens now residing in this country,” writes CIS fellow David North.
“Raising the money would help with the skyrocketing national debt and, at the same time, would tend to encourage some of the illegal aliens to leave voluntarily,” he adds.
North outlines three policies he believes will help achieve the objectives of raising government revenue and lessening the burden of illegal immigrants in the country:
Biggest Prize: “Many illegal aliens, probably millions of them, use a Social Security number that does not belong to them; usually it was issued to someone else years ago. The illegal aliens file tax returns using the SSN that they have given to their employers; thus, their claims for their refunds and their W-2s match each other. But they do not match the government’s own records,” North writes.
His suggestion: Don’t pay tax refunds to anyone who’s lying about their SSNs. Many of those refunds also contain the added benefit of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit, which can amount to several thousand dollars per filer. He notes that if the average refund is about $2,000 and that spanned 4 million illegal alien filers, that amounts to a savings of $8 billion per year.
This proposal would also have the added benefit of being beyond a federal court’s reach because the money is already in the government’s hands.
Food stamp eligibility: While North explains that this is much more complicated and would only raise about a billion dollars per year, it’s “well worth doing” because it would serve as a deterrent: Change up rules regarding food stamp eligibility:
The current system, in most states, and at just the right income levels, allows some of the better-off of the mixed families (consisting of both illegal and legal residents) to collect food stamps when all-citizen families of the same size and the same income cannot collect the same benefits. This presents a bizarre situation in which the undocumented are not just treated as equals to legal residents, they are treated better than citizens.
Here’s how he explained it three years ago:
Let’s say that the all-citizen family consisted of three people, employed father, stay-at-home mother, and a small child. Dad makes $2,400 a month. The family’s income is too high for food stamps since the maximum monthly income is $2,177 for a family of three.
Then next door there is a mixed family, also three people, with the father being the only worker, also earning $2,400 a month. The difference is that the father is an ineligible alien and so, under many states’ regulations, one-third of the family’s income is ignored (prorated is the word in SNAP circles), leaving the family with a nominal income of $1,600 a month that allows the family to get a food stamps allotment, but only for the two citizens, not for all three in the family.
North noted that CIS queried the Department of Agriculture, which administers the food stamp program, to see if these rules were still in place; officials said they were.
Fees for wired remittances: One of the main reasons why people cross into the U.S. illegally is to find better-paying work so they can send money back home to relatives. North suggests tacking on a 2 percent “remittance” fee so that the government can earn a piece of the pie when illegals send earnings outside U.S. borders.
“No corporations would be subject to the fee. The fee would be treated like a tax withholding on wages, and could be used as a credit toward one’s federal income tax, so that taxpaying people would not be paying anything at the end of the year,” North writes.
“Overseas remittances from the United States are usually in the neighborhood of $50 billion a year, so this would produce about $1 billion a year for the Treasury.”
Currently, only one state, Oklahoma, has implemented a remittance tax; in 2018, the state earned $13 million from taxed transfers.
The drawback here, though, is that Congress would have to approve the new remittance tax and fat chance of that happening; neither party would likely support it.
Still, the point is the president and his administration still have tools in the policy tool chest they can use to both raise revenues and disincentivize illegal immigration.
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