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Letter on H.R. 4722

March 16, 2016

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the three million members of the National Education Association (NEA) and the students they serve, we urge you to VOTE NO on H.R. 4722 which is being marked up by the House Ways and Means Committee this Wednesday. Votes associated with this bill may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 114th Congress.

H.R. 4722 would deny the refundable Child Tax Credit to millions of low-income children whose parents are immigrants, and who file their tax forms through the legal use of Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs).  About 80 percent of the children in such families are citizens – about 4.1 million children, as estimated by the Migration Policy Institute.  Another 1 million children are, like their working parents, undocumented.  They are the “little Dreamers” who have usually come to the U.S. when small and know no other home.  Nearly one-third of children in low-income families have immigrant parents.  About 85 percent of families who would lose the credit because a parent lacks a Social Security number are Hispanic. Low-income families without a Social Security number will lose on average $1,800 if the Child Tax Credit is denied. 

It is not in the national interest to deepen the poverty of millions of children who are part of the American community.  Loss of this tax refund could result in an inability to pay rent or to keep up with utility or food bills.  Children subject to frequent moves, lack of heat, homelessness, and/or inadequate food are more likely to suffer ill health, developmental and educational problems.  It is shortsighted and simply wrong to push these 5.1 million children deeper into poverty when their working parents are obeying the tax laws and generating $13 billion in payroll tax payments.

Individuals who work in America must pay taxes on their income, no matter their immigration status. Immigrant workers who lack a Social Security number file tax returns with an ITIN, which the IRS provides them (upon application) to encourage them to file tax returns and pay taxes.  ITIN filers are largely subject to the same tax rules as other filers and they’re eligible for the Child Tax Credit, including the low-income (or refundable) component of it.

We urge you to Vote No on the misguided H.R. 4722. Members of the House Committee on Ways and Means should reject proposals that place even greater burdens on low-income children and their families.

Sincerely,

Mary Kusler
Director of Government Relations