Bills Could Extend Health Care to Illegal Aliens, Taxpayer-Funded Rebates

Written by FAIR

February 3, 2009

Last week, Congress considered two bills that could greatly expand taxpayer-funded benefits to legal and illegal aliens.  On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the controversial economic stimulus bill (H.R.1, the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009"), legislation that includes a provision that may allow illegal aliens to receive government checks.

(The Associated Press, January 29, 2009) The following day, the Senate passed H.R.2, the "Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009," a bill that would extend taxpayer-funded health care to certain legal immigrants who were not previously eligible for the program (Congressional Quarterly, January 29, 2009), and could allow illegal aliens to access the coverage, as well. (See Congressman Lamar Smith's (R-TX) Press Release, January 14, 2009 and Congressman Steve King's (R-IA) Press Release, January 14, 2009).

Following the House's passage of the economic stimulus package, a top Republican congressional official told sources in the media that the bill could grant tax credits to illegal aliens. According to the official, the legislation will allow people who do not have Social Security numbers to qualify for the tax credits.  Illegal aliens who are not eligible for Social Security numbers are allowed to file tax returns with an alternative number, called an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).  The stimulus proposal that passed the House on Wednesday will allow anyone with an ITIN to qualify for the tax credits - $500 per worker and $1000 per couple - authorized in the bill.  (The Associated Press, January 29, 2009)  The Senate is set to consider its version of the stimulus bill this week. (Reuters, January 28, 2009)
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is a national, nonprofit, public-interest, membership organization of concerned citizens who share a common belief that our nation's immigration policies must be reformed to serve the national interest. FAIR seeks to improve border security, to stop illegal immigration, and to promote immigration levels consistent with the national interest—more traditional rates of about 300,000 a year.

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