To cover a small part of the estimated $150 billion payroll-tax-cut extension, congressional negotiators are considering an offensive idea: taking a $1,800 tax credit away from undocumented immigrants who earn poverty wages.
Supporters argue that cutting the child tax credit for these families could save $2.5 billion a year or more. But it could force poor working families to cut back on essentials, like food.
In Pennsylvania, about 15,600 families could lose the credit, which was designed to help families on the edge from falling off. In New Jersey, 76,660 could be affected.
The scheme to cut the credit, already passed in the House, would single out undocumented workers who don't qualify for a Social Security number but instead use an income-tax identification number on their federal tax returns. The child tax credit they receive is based on their income. Advocates for these workers note that this group paid $9 billion in Social Security and Medicare taxes in 2010.