The recent expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) under the American Rescue Plan is meant to provide relief to families hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet one million children from immigrant households lost access to the CTC in 2017 because they do not have a Social Security number (SSN). At a time when we are trying to rebuild the economy and make it more equitable for all, we should not be excluding families from tax benefits based on which tax identification number they use to file their taxes.
Prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA), which was signed into law by President Trump, an immigrant family could qualify for the CTC if their child had an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). The Internal Revenue Service issues ITINs for tax purposes to individuals who are not eligible for a SSN. The TCJA, however, made children with ITINs ineligible for the CTC, requiring instead that they have an SSN. This change cut off many immigrant families from accessing this important tax credit.
The CTC is not the only public benefit that immigrant families have had unequal access to. Low- and moderate-income immigrant households disproportionately suffered financially because of the pandemic, yet many of them were left out of the first rounds of stimulus payments. Mixed immigration status families (which include members with different citizenship or immigration statuses) finally qualified for the third round of payments under the American Rescue Plan, but ITIN holders were once again ineligible. Other than pandemic relief, members of mixed-status families and non-citizens also face restricted eligibility or outright exclusion from many forms of government support, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
Other than pandemic relief, members of mixed-status families and non-citizens also face restricted eligibility or outright exclusion from many forms of government support.
– Myrto Karaflos
The recent expansion of the CTC, along with the push to extend these provisions, presents an opportunity to broaden its reach to more children. The expanded credit can cut child poverty by 45% overall, including a 52% reduction in poverty for Black children and 45% for Hispanic children. Moreover, tax benefits like the CTC and the EITC are critical to children’s well-being, even into adulthood. Recipients experience better infant health, improved school test scores, increased college enrollment and higher earnings as adults.
A child’s immigration status should not bar them from accessing benefits that can improve their lives for years to come. Please ask your members of Congress to make the expanded CTC available to all children in immigrant families, including those with ITINs. Legislation like the American Family Act (H.R. 928), recently re-introduced in the House by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03), Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01) and Ritchie Torres (D-NY-15), has already called for this change to be made. Especially now, as the country recovers from the pandemic, immigrant families need the income boost from the CTC, as well as the longer-term benefits that can help children thrive.
Originally posted by Prosperity Now on 2021-06-09 19:00:00