In August 5, 1993, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) sent out the following press release touting the virtues of justice and fairness in defense of his immigration enforcement bill:
"Our borders have overflowed with illegal immigrants placing tremendous burdens on our criminal justice system, schools and social programs," Reid said. "The Immigration and Naturalization Service needs the ability to step up enforcement.
"Our federal wallet is stretched to the limit by illegal aliens getting welfare, food stamps, medical care and other benefits often without paying any taxes.
"Safeguards like welfare and free medical care are in place to boost Americans in need of short-term assistance. These programs were not meant to entice freeloaders and scam artists from around the world.
That was in 1993.
That was when there were only a few million illegal aliens in the country.
That was when our welfare state was a fraction of its current size.
When the price tag for Medicaid was $75.7 billion; it is now $343 billion, and that doesn’t even include the entire Obamacare program.
That was when the price tag for food assistance was $31.7 billion; it is now over $100 billion.
That was when the cost of the refundable earned income tax credit was $8.7 billion; it is now $87 billion when coupled with the newer additional child tax credit.
Harry Reid Used to Oppose Amnesty
Everyone understood that illegal immigration was harmful to the fiscal stability of this country. It’s a fundamental question of justice and fairness.
There was a time when the parties merely disagreed over the best economic and fiscal policies for those living here. Everyone understood that illegal immigration was harmful to the fiscal stability of this country. It’s a fundamental question of justice and fairness.
If Harry Reid was able to stand for justice and fairness in immigration in 1993, shouldn’t Republicans be able champion those values today when the problem has grown exponentially?
Now we have a president who is illegally implementing a plan that will, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, grant newly-amnestied aliens $2.5 billion in earned income tax credits (EITC) over 5 years.
Where is the justice and fairness to the American people in that?
There are also new reports that Obama’s USCIS is prioritizing the applications of illegal immigrants over those of legal immigrants.
Where is the justice and fairness to the American people and prospective immigrants?
Now we have Republicans thwarting the conservative efforts they claimed at one point to stand for and the very thing Reid championed in 1993, ending the unfair and unconstitutional practice of birthright citizenship.
Where is the justice and fairness to the American people when millions of illegal aliens are already eligible for the full smorgasbord of welfare programs because their American-born children are erroneously and unconstitutionally recognized as citizens?
Instead of focusing on liberal bills and uninspiring ideas, such as reauthorizing No Child Left Behind, subsidizing Amtrak, and a $174 billion health care spending bill, why not focus on justice and fairness on a relevant issue that connects with the American people?
In the coming weeks, here are a few ideas that would easily put Democrats on defense with the overwhelming majority of the country:
- Abolish Tax Credits for Obama’s amnesty: The House and Senate could immediately take up legislation prohibiting the IRS from issuing retroactive or future EITC benefits to any illegal aliens processed by Obama. According to a recent Congressional Research Service memo, illegal families could receive as much as $35,000 in retroactive EITC benefits the first year being approved for Obama’s executive amnesty. [Non-amnestied illegals that do not possess a valid Social Security card are not eligible for the EITC, but a number of them receive benefits on behalf of American-born kids.] The best legislation is Rep. Randy Weber’s (R-TX) H.R. 1332, which would block both the EITC and child tax credit for DACA and DAPA applicants.
- Abolish Child Tax Credit for all Illegal Aliens: Unlike the EITC, all illegal aliens are eligible for the refundable Additional Child Tax Credit [ACTC] because of a loophole that allows them to file a tax return with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) instead of a Social Security number. Congress should immediately pass legislation requiring a valid Social Security number. This will save taxpayers at least $4.2 billion over 10 years.
- Abolish Employer Deduction for Illegal Workers: Congress should pass some version of Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) New Idea Act, which would eliminate the employer tax deduction for any employee who is working here illegally.
Finally, think about this for a moment. The 1996 welfare reform law, when it is actually enforced, prevents green card holders from accessing public benefits for 5 years based on the principle that permanent resident immigrants who come to the U.S. should be contributing to society as part of the privilege to enter. Yet, illegal immigrants not only get a reprieve from deportation, but they are paid (for their illegality) with the refundable tax credits that are not even available for hard-working legal immigrants.
Where is the fairness and justice in that?
This should be simple for Republicans to embrace and enough for any of them to want to shout from the rooftops, right?
The Hill is already reporting that Republican leaders are worried about bringing up legislation cutting off welfare for illegal immigrants. For those in leadership who are apprehensive, I would encourage them to step outside the beltway for a few days and ask ordinary Americans – Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and unaffiliated – whether they believe Obama’s welfare for illegal immigrants is just and fair. Just ask Harry Reid.