Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has talked … and talked … and talked about introducing a bill that would provide legal status to, as he says, blameless undocumented individuals who were brought to the United States as children. We have welcomed the Florida senator’s entry into this important discussion and have been anxious to see his bill and the strong Republican support that he has promised. As described in his numerous interviews about the subject, it should be an easy bill to write since it is structurally so similar to the DREAM Act, a bill first introduced 10 years ago that would provide undocumented youth an opportunity to earn citizenship. And yet, two months later, there is still no bill and no evidence of political support from his Republican colleagues.
So it was quite the surprise to immigration advocates when the bill he actually introduced this week was not his promised DREAM-like proposal, but rather a bill that attacks “blameless” low-income American children. His bill, which is designed to restrict eligibility for the additional child tax credit, the refundable portion of the federal child tax credit, landed like a heavyweight’s blow to the chin of low-income immigrant families.
In his press release about the bill, Sen. Rubio claims that his proposal will end a “scam that costs American taxpayers $4.2 billion” by blocking refundable credits from going to U.S.-citizen or legally resident children who have an undocumented parent provider. But the child tax credit was enacted in 1998 without regard to the immigration status of the parents for a good reason.
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