After President Barack Obama’s executive action in November 2014, many immigrants were granted certain unilateral protections. The executive order issued Social Security numbers for many undocumented residents, preventing their deportation and allowing them to seek legal employment. The initial decision sparked controversy amongst members of Congress, particularly amongst Republicans who regained control of the both the House of Representations and Senate during mid-term elections late last year.
In 2015, a new policy could allow immigrants to apply for up to $24,000 in tax credits. The total amount of credits received would ultimately depend on the size of the family in question. This is taking place during a critical time when Congress is trying to pass a bill that would increase the budget for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which also happens to be responsible for immigration control, amongst many other things. The Associated Press has confirmed that the bill must pass before February 27th, prior to the scheduled shutdown that stands to reverse Obama’s program. “I think these amnesty rewards, and that’s what they are, need to be stopped,” said Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas.
Those who support the program claim that many immigrants pay taxes and that they should receive the same benefits as everyone else. According to Chief Actuary Stephen Goss, immigrants paid close to $100 billion in tax revenue over the past decade. Many claim that this current situation is unfair, since tax-paying undocumented workers are largely ignored by most federal initiatives such as federal loans or food stamps.
As a result of the President’s executive action, taxpaying workers would be eligible for Social Security benefits only after a decade of paying their taxes. If they can meet income requirements and provide proof of earnings, however, immigrant workers would receive Earned Income Tax Credits immediately.
Conservative lawmakers are vehemently opposed to the administration’s policy. They claim it is an abuse of power and the tax break will provide an additional burden for law-abiding taxpayers. In addition, right-wing representatives from Ohio and Kansas have stated that the President’s executive decision can lead to vote fraud, since a large number of illegal voters would overwhelm their state’s capacity to verify eligibility.
Republicans have attempted to repeal Obama’s executive order while still trying to fund the Department of Homeland Security operating budget on multiple occasions. The bills have failed three times because they couldn’t get past the Senate though. If current funding attempts are not successful by February 27th, the DHS will most likely shut down.
If you or someone you know would like legal counsel regarding President Obama’s executive order or need assistance on another type of immigration issue, please contact the immigration attorneys at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas by visiting our website, or calling us today at 512-215-5225.