Latino groups, Rubio at odds over crackdown on immigrant tax credits

Jordan Fabian | 6/6/2012, 8:28 a.m.

Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos said that the senator is forging ahead with both proposals.

“We’re still in the process of gathering sponsors,” he said. “We’re continuing to develop Sen. Rubio’s proposal to help high-achieving, undocumented children and hope to have bipartisan legislation soon.”

Rubio’s tax credit bill has not yet been considered by the Senate Finance Committee, and it’s unclear how far it will advance in the Democrat-controlled upper chamber.

The senator defended his proposal last month as a common-sense measure.

“I haven’t taken any heat because it’s the logical thing to do. It’s filed publicly. It’s available for everyone to see,” he said, according to the Miami Herald. “The bill’s pretty straightforward. There are people in this country filing for child tax credits for children who don’t even live in the United States and it has been documented and it was never intended for that purpose,” he added. “It’s not even legal to do it now. All this does is say if you don’t have a Social Security Number, and you did file for the tax credit, you have to file paperwork proving that those children who are receiving the tax credit are here in the United States.

Latino and immigrant-rights groups pointed out that the type of fraud that Rubio is targeting (U.S. tax dollars going to kids living overseas) is already illegal under the tax code. They suggested that the senator take a narrower approach by focusing on rooting out individual instances of fraud and asking only for proof that the children whom families are claiming for the credit live in the U.S., and not immigration papers for the filer and children.

“[Rubio] is transforming the IRS into an immigration enforcement agency,” Miranda said. “[It] doesn’t address the fraud that is being alleged.”

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