In a statement announcing his executive amnesty, President Obama reassured doubters that formerly illegal aliens would not qualify for “the same benefits that citizens receive.” As federal agencies begin issuing Social Security numbers to millions of new residents, however, it’s becoming clear that the president’s words were seriously misleading.
Formerly illegal aliens may not qualify for “the same benefits that citizens receive,” but they will very likely qualify for tens of billions of dollars worth of many of the most generous benefits available to citizens. How much, precisely, will become clearer in the coming weeks.
Start, for example, with the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit. These two means-tested benefits “top up” the wages of low-paid workers. Both are first applied to offset any federal tax liability a worker may have. The remainder of the credit is then refundable in cash to the worker. In the 2011 tax year, the average EITC payment to a family with children was $2,905, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. The Additional Child Tax Credit works in much the same way, paying an average of $1,800 to qualifying households. [More]