Do you remember all that talk right before the holidays about Congress thinking about NOT extending unemployment benefits during this time of recession?
Well, Congress did strike a deal that extended both unemployment insurance benefits and the payroll tax cut, a benefit that allows workers to keep about $40.00 per paycheck. That deal is set to expire February 29, and Congress is renegotiating — most of the debate now is how to pay for these benefits.
The House of Representatives are proposing pay for the payroll tax extension by limiting eligibility for a program that helps low-income taxpaying families care for their children- and 80% of the the families who benefit from this program are Latino! Seriously, Congress?!
The Child Tax Credit reduces taxes by $1,000.00 per child for taxpaying parents so that they can buy food, school supplies, and other necessities for their children. Parents who benefit from this law are taxpayers, so they pay into this program- again a program that serves as a tax refund to assist lower-income families. The program is credited with helping 1.3 million children from falling into poverty in 2009.
Under current law, taxpayers who do not have a Social Security Number can apply to this benefit using Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). This number is issued by the Internal Revenue Service to allow those without Social Security Numbers, like immigrants, pay taxes.
House of Representatives are proposing to limit eligibility for this program to only those with Social Security Numbers.
As National Council of La Raza explains, this proposal would disproportionately impact Latinos who are taxpayers and have very low incomes. By denying this benefit to ITIN tax-payers, 4.4 MILLION Latino children in mixed-status families would lose this benefit, affecting 1 in4 Latino children. This would be unfair to the taxpayers who pay into this program and would destabilize the health, well-being and prosperity of our most vulnerable children.
Why Congress is proposing to pay for one assistance program by cutting one that impacts poor children is beyond logic, reason and human compassion. Low-income children are the ones who will suffer most.
We need to do better for our children. In 2007, the United States ranked 20th out of 21 countries in a UN survey of child welfare in rich nations. The Annie E. Casey Foundation has found that child poverty has increased in 38 states over the past decade with 20% of our youth now living in poverty.
And Latino children disproportionately live in poverty and are food-insecure.The Pew Research Center found that in 2010, more Latino children lived in poverty than children of any other group. NCLR’s research also shows that Latinos face the highest level of food insecurity among all racial and ethnic groups.
Unfortunately, this is not the only policy aimed at generating revenue by destabilizing the health and well-being of poor Latino children. States like Kansas have either proposed or enacted laws that limit food stamp eligibility for the children of undocumented immigrants.
Latin@s, please show your Congressperson that you are PODEROSA and you will not stand for this attack on Latino children in this country!
Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to reach your Representatives in Congress.
The National Council of La Raza recommends the below script:
“My name is ____. I am a constituent calling from ____. I urge you to oppose any changes in eligibility for the Child Tax Credit. Children in low-income families should not be a source of revenue for the payroll tax cut. No compromises!”
National Council of La Raza (NCLR) has excellent resources on this topic and the impact on Latinos.