California advocates use coronavirus to push for tax credits for illegal immigrants
This Sunday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that President Donald Trump had approved California’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration to bolster California’s COVID-19 emergency response efforts.
The Presidential Major Disaster Declaration will make federal funding available to state, tribal and local governments for emergency protective measures. These funds will come on top of the $1.1 billion allocated toward the state’s response by emergency legislation signed by Newsom last week.
Illegal immigrants in California
As of 2014, California was estimated to be home to about 2.5 million people with no authorization to be in the United States. Nearly a quarter of the nation’s “undocumented” population resides in California, where they constitute more than 6% of the state’s total population.
California’s labor force was estimated by the Pew Research Center in 2014 to include about 1.75 million illegals. These undocumented laborers are employed disproportionately in agriculture, construction, and manufacturing.
CalEITC: The California Earned Income Tax Credit
An earned income tax credit is designed to help low- to moderate-income families with working parents. The tax credit amount depends on the recipient's income and number of children.
In 2015, the first year of CalEITC, about 385,000 families received the cash-back benefit, which totaled almost $200 million. In 2019, more than 2 million people claimed the CalEITC, totaling close to $395 million in benefits.
Since its inception, eligibility for the program has expanded, encompassing a greater age range and including self-employed people. Credit amounts have increased and income eligibility guidelines have been relaxed; people earning up to the equivalent of full time minimum wage are now eligible. Governor Newsom last year allocated $600 million to CalEITC.
The California Immigrant Policy Center
A group called the California Immigrant Policy Center wants to extend state earned tax credits to what is called the undocumented community, despite the fact that they're undocumented.
Illegal immigrants who file tax returns don't have a Social Security number, so they use an Individual Tax Identification Number (TIN) instead. Illegals who pay taxes this way are often small business owners. People who file tax returns using a TIN are not eligible for an earned income tax credit, and they are not eligible for unemployment insurance.
The California Immigrant Policy Center points out that the (now) more than 2 million unauthorized workers are among the hardest hit “Californians”, as the national economy is battered by the business slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Jobs performed by illegals are typically considered non-essential.
Of course, whatever concession might be granted wouldn't be enough, and the following year the same people would be back asking for more, and they wouldn't stop until the meaning of U.S. citizenship had been practically erased.