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Illegal aliens will continue to get billions in IRS checks

Sen. John Cornyn, right, says his legislation will rein in IRS payouts to illegals, but critics doubt it. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is at left, Sen. Patrick Leahy at center.
Sen. John Cornyn, right, says his legislation will rein in IRS payouts to illegals, but critics doubt it. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is at left, Sen. Patrick Leahy at center.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A congressional crackdown on illegal immigrants getting checks from the IRS has some cracks in it.

The proposed legislation doesn’t stop illegals from obtaining Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers and receiving more $1,000 child tax-credit checks.

Last year, those “illegal” payouts totaled more than $4.2 billion, Watchdog.org reported.

U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, both Texas Republicans, insist their ITIN Reform Act “will go a long way toward putting in place the necessary safeguards.”

“Instead of aiding and abetting fraud, the IRS needs to prevent fraud from happening in the first place,” the lawmakers said.

H.R. 4078 would require first-time ITIN applicants appear in person at a Taxpayer Assistance Center or diplomatic consulate. Currently, applicants can apply by mail or through a third party.

Individuals seeking an ITIN must provide original documentation establishing their identity and foreign status. The bill does not disqualify illegals, however.

New ITINs will have a five-year time limit with an option to renew. Existing ITINs get a three-year limit with a renewal option.

The Joint Committee on Taxation projects that the Johnson-Cornyn bill could net $7.6 billion in new savings. Critics say that’s a stretch.

When Congress passed the child-tax credit, it did not specify legal residency as a requirement. Lawmakers assumed that Social Security numbers — held by legal residents — would be used by tax filers.

Then ITIN use exploded, and so did the refunds.

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