What Did The Tired, Poor, And Huddled Masses Do?
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shores.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
The Senate’s June bill would triple legal immigration over the next decade, by awarding green cards to 33 million immigrants and work permits to roughly 13 million guest workers. That influx would be larger than the 28 million teenagers in the country, and also larger than the pool of 20 million unemployed and underemployed Americans. There is already committee approval for a bill that would allow food-industry companies to hire 500,000 guest workers a year. Under current rules, employers can hire roughly 50,000 foreign temporary agriculture workers annually.
A 2011 report by the Treasury Department’s Inspector General found that 2.3 million undocumented immigrant filers received $4.2 billion from child tax credits in 2010, with the average family claim totaling about $1,800. The IRS later clarified that immigrants were, in fact, eligible for the credits even if they lacked legal status. Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire has proposed eliminating this deduction for undocumented immigrants. The money saved, about $20 billion over the next decade, would go towards offsetting the cost of the three-month unemployment extension.
Immigration is problematic for Republicans. In addition to Obama receiving 71% of the Latino vote in 2012 and close to 900,000 Latino U.S. citizens turning eighteen each year and becoming eligible to vote, 68% of voters oppose cuts to tax credits like the Child Tax Credit.
An undocumented worker in Indiana who allowed four other undocumented workers to use his address to fraudulently claim 20 children for the Child Tax Credit. That resulted in tax refunds of nearly $30,000. We don’t know how widespread this kind of fraud is.
The debate on immigration extends to education. The nation’s estimated 2.1 million undocumented college-age youth are known as “dreamers”. Fifteen states now have DREAM Act laws aimed at providing educational assistance to undocumented youth. While DREAM Act-eligible immigrants live in every state, the largest number are in California (26% of the national total).
There were fewer than 5,500 healthcare applicants in October and November who self-identified as Spanish speakers. That is the most recent period for which records are available. About 4.3 million California residents speak only Spanish, according to census data. In New Mexico, the state with the nation’s highest percentage of Latino residents and where more than 20 percent of the state’s population goes without health insurance, fewer than 1,000 people total signed up for coverage in October and November. In Florida, federal health officials have not said how many of the state’s nearly 18,000 enrollees for October and November were Latino, but that group accounts for about one-third of the roughly 3.5 million uninsured people in the state. About 1.2 million people in the state speak only Spanish. Across the U.S., about 12 percent of the 317 million people in the country speak only Spanish, but federal officials have said less than 4 percent of calls to a national hotline were Spanish-only as of last month.