By Victoria Brenner, Legislative Analyst, and Leticia Miranda, Senior Policy Advisor, NCLR
As part of its mark-up of the comprehensive immigration reform proposal S. 744, the Senate Judiciary Committee has already considered 81 amendments. On Monday, when the committee reconvenes, it is slated to take up one that would be exceedingly harmful – amendment #24 offered by Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah (Hatch #24), which denies lawfully present immigrants the Social Security benefits they earned through their work and payroll taxes. This is particularly unfair because hardworking immigrant taxpayers have contributed billions in payroll taxes to the Social Security Trust Fund, boosting its revenue and prolonging its solvency.
Why is this amendment so bad? First, reducing access to Social Security for Latino immigrant workers would push millions into poverty later in life. If aspiring citizens are denied credit for their past contributions, their benefits would be substantially reduced and many would fail to achieve sufficient credits to ever qualify for Social Security. Moreover, over four million Latino children of immigrants would be would be left without the protection of Social Security in case their working parent died or became disabled. There are also broader macroeconomic considerations.
By Leticia Miranda, Senior Policy Advisor, Economic Security Policy, NCLR
For three days now, the Senate Judiciary Committee has been reviewing numerous amendments to S. 744, the Gang of 8’s immigration bill. Amid the slew of 300 amendments is one that should concern all Americans: Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-Ala.) amendment 31 . The Alabama senator’s amendment would deny the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to legally present taxpayers who have earned Resident Provisional Immigrant status, as outlined in S. 744. These hardworking taxpayers could not claim the EITC for at least ten years until they become Legal Permanent Residents. Ten years is a lifetime to a growing child. This exclusion is unjust and will have negative consequences for America’s future.
Workers with legal status should be treated like all other Americans: responsible for paying taxes and eligible for any tax credits due. The Sessions #31 would create a two-tiered tax system with one group of legal workers required to pay significantly higher tax rates than other workers with the exact same income. It would hurt over four million Latino children of aspiring citizens by eliminating their eligibility for this important tax credit.
In the latest installment of our semi-regular video series, we meet Aldira Aldape and Mike Toledo. Both work at nonprofit community-based organizations in NCLR’s Affiliate network. Aldira and Mike both have deep concerns about the effects of the sequester—mandatory across-the-board cuts to the federal budget—will have on one of our most successful early education programs, Head Start.
We all know that Latino children will make up the bulk of our future workforce. That’s why investments in our youth are so important. With the sequester in effect, however, those investments are harder to make. The policies of austerity in place today jeopardize the future prosperity of America.
By Alicia Criado, Policy Associate, Economic and Employment Policy Project, NCLR
When I initially heard the current immigration reform bill introduced on April 17 proposed to remove or limit certain family-based immigration petitions all I could think about was my personal family story. Without these petitions, many of my family members currently living and helping to strengthen the United States’ economy would not be here.
My family is similar to many Latinos families in that we are close-knit and this includes my extended family. My mom was the first in her family to immigrate to the U.S. and through the family immigration system my mom sponsored her mother and eventually her sibling living in Peru.
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee spent the day yesterday considering how to reform the non-immigrant work visa system, which will play an important role in fixing our immigration system. The committee resumed its markup of the immigration bill, S. 744, in a spirited day-long session that ended with Senators from both parties reaffirming their commitment to passing comprehensive immigration reform. Title IV, the section of the bill under consideration yesterday, provides legal mechanisms for foreign workers to enter the country for employment purposes. Senators in the committee were successful in adopting some amendments intended to strengthen the bill and rejecting those that would undermine it.
One of the more notable amendments was offered by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). Her amendment, which was adopted, would allow spouses of non-immigrant visa holders who are victims of domestic violence to have a pathway to independence and self-sufficiency.
The country needs a labor secretary and we think Tom Perez is the best man for the job. That’s why today we’re calling on senators to stop the unwarranted attacks and filibuster threats against the president’s nominee. We’re joining our Affiliate, Casa de Maryland, and the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) in a march and a press conference today to make sure we’re heard loud and clear.
Tomorrow, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions is scheduled to vote on Perez’ nomination and we need your help in making sure those senators know we support him.
This week, the committee will review amendments to Title 4 of the bill, which cover reforms to non-immigrant visas. This part of the bill governs the rules and requirements of work-based visa programs. We’ll be watching closely today as we work to continue building the momentum for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a roadmap to citizenship. Reform must include provisions that are good for American workers, keep families together, and guarantee labor rights for all.