I’m sure that many conservatives–to say nothing of Lou Dobbs–will go postal over the idea that illegal immigrants would get tax rebates, as is proposed (unintentionally?) in the House package.
In their bipartisan zeal to quickly cut a deal on an economic stimulus bill, GOP lawmakers overlooked something that will certainly inflame the conservative base–illegal immigrants could receive a tax rebate check from the government.
The text of the House passed bill contains language making "non resident aliens"–illegal immigrants–ineligible for the tax rebates. But every year, hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants use individual taxpayer identification numbers, known as ITINs, to file income tax returns with the IRS. These ID numbers are used instead of Social Security numbers. There are no exact statistics for how many illegal immigrants file tax returns, but this New York Times story from last year details the significant increase in use of ITINs. This story also lays out the issue.
Immigration advocates point out that many legal immigrants use ITINs, so it would be impossible to outlaw rebates for everyone who uses this form of ID in tax returns.
Personally, I don’t see giving tax rebates to those with no legal status here. (Neither do I see forcing ordinary citizens to be snitches on these people, as some recently enacted state laws require.) However, it’s more likely that the illegal immigrants would either save their rebate or send it back to their impovrished families rather than blow it on new stuff, as many native born citizens are wont to do.
A good usage for the money would be to pay down debt, sensible especially since this economic crisis is driven by the partial collapse of the credit system, and its danger is prolonged by the high level of indebtedness of our population.
Sad to say, that’s not the "American way" any more.