Trump Budget Targets Mixed-Status Immigrant Families

Among the many vulnerable communities targeted by President Trump’s budget proposal are U.S. citizen children living with at least one undocumented parent. There are 128,000 New Jersey kids (and about 4 million nationwide) who would be punished for their parents’ immigration status under Trump’s plan – this is 6.5 percent of all kids in the state.

These children – and their parents – would be barred from accessing two vital working-family tax credits: the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) unless everyone in their family has a Social Security number. Most undocumented immigrants who pay taxes – to the tune of $587 million a year in state and local taxes here in New Jersey – use Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN).

Very few undocumented families receive the EITC, because it already requires that all family members have Social Security numbers. So the biggest pinch here will be on the CTC, which is currently open to parents with ITINs whose children have Social Security numbers.

This cruel action would ensure that these children miss out on the long-term benefits of these tax credits, just because somehow the administration sees them differently than other U.S. citizen children.

Most of these parents have been in the U.S. for years paying taxes and contributing to the economy, but are stuck in an outdated immigration system that prevents them from seeking legal status until their U.S. citizen child turns 21 and that child  sponsors them for legal status – which is not itself a guaranteed deal.

New Jersey’s members of Congress must put the future of the state’s children first. New Jersey has the 8th largest number of U.S.-citizen children of undocumented immigrants in the nation, and we cannot imperil our future because of discriminatory practices. Immigrants – both documented and undocumented – are an asset to our state and nation, and they should be treated with dignity and respect.

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