The Latest in Sequestration: Millions of Latino Children Up for Negotiation

By Leticia Miranda, Senior Policy Advisor, Economic Security Policy

Child Tax Credit Advocates
Children advocating on Capitol Hill to save the Child Tax Credit

No.  I’m not exaggerating.  A proposal by Senator Kelly Ayotte (R–NH) to replace the pending automatic cuts would raise taxes on hardworking, low-income Latino families.  Rather than asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes, legislators are proposing cutting off access to the Child Tax Credit for taxpayers who use individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs).  NCLR estimates that more than four million Latino children and their families could lose out on this valuable tax credit if the current proposal passes, pushing these families into poverty.

It is outrageous that this proposal is even on the table.  Latino voters are paying close attention to how policymakers treat our community.  Given that one out of every four Latino children would face greater hunger and poverty as a result of this proposal, it is hard to see this proposal as anything less than an attack on Latino children.  This isn’t the first time either.  NCLR’s Action Network responded with more than 5,000 letters in 2012 when Congress last tried to strip this important credit—and we won.  Congress should pass a fair budget plan that maintains access to the Child Tax Credit for vulnerable families.

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Immigrants who lack a Social Security number commonly use ITINs to pay their share of income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes.  In 2012, ITIN tax filers paid more than $9 billion in payroll taxes to support Social Security and Medicare.  These families are striving to do the right thing despite pinching pennies on a daily basis.  Why would we punish them?

Let’s break down just how important this credit is.  Families affected by this policy change earn an average of $21,000 per year.  If the law changes, those families would experience an 8% increase in taxes, amounting to a loss of about $1,800 in income.  Any restriction on the Child Tax Credit would make it more difficult for hardworking parents to provide for their children’s basic needs and threaten to drive child poverty even higher.

The sequestration replacement proposal by Senator Ayotte is one of two proposals being considered by Senate Republican leadership.  In the aftermath of the recent election, many Republican politicians have spoken about the need to attract more Hispanic voters.  If courting Latino voters is a goal, harming millions of Latino children is not the way to achieve it.

Please join NCLR’s federal budget campaign by texting BUDGET to 62571 orjoining the NCLR Action Network.  We will alert you when you should call your elected leaders to let them know that you oppose this restriction on the Child Tax Credit.

You can also call your member of Congress now to tell them to stop the whole sequestration by dialing 1-888-597-7849.

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