Johnson WASHINGTON EXAMINER Op-Ed: Fighting Back Against Obama's Lawless Immigration Amnesty

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Washington, December 31, 2015 | comments

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One thousand and seven hundred-plus miles. That's the distance between 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the Texas border city of McAllen, Texas. President Obama has never been there, which is perhaps why it is so easy for him to ignore the impact that his lawless executive amnesty is having on my border state of Texas and the country as a whole.

Well I did see firsthand the extent of Obama's man-made illegal immigration crisis. I saw it when I led a congressional delegation with other Texas members to the Rio Grande Valley sector of our border in 2014. And let me tell you, what the president has done is wrong. His sweeping executive amnesty in 2012 and again in 2014, along with his failure to secure our border and enforce our immigration laws, is harmful across-the-board.

His unconstitutional amnesty undermines the rule of law. It leaves our nation less secure. It hurts law-abiding, American taxpayers. It overwhelms Border Patrol agents who are doing their very best to protect our homeland. It leaves Texans and other folks in border cities to fend for themselves as cartels smuggle drugs, weapons and people over the border for profit. And it's unfair to those who have played by the rules to legally call America home. It's no wonder that a majority of folks oppose the president's action.

In Washington I have staunchly opposed the president's lawless amnesty as well as steadfastly supported efforts to secure the border and enforce — even strengthen — immigration laws. Moreover, as senior member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, I have championed several measures to stop illegal immigrants from fleecing the American taxpayer.

Just a few weeks ago, one of my bills, the No Amnesty Tax Refunds for Illegals Act (H.R. 1298), was signed into law as part of the Protecting Americans Against Tax Hikes Act (H.R. 2029). My bill was in a response to an exchange I had with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen during a hearing in February 2015. While questioning the commissioner, I exposed the bogus claim the president made in November 2014. He said that, among the requirements for getting his executive amnesty, illegals must be "willing to pay your fair share of taxes."

In fact, the IRS Commissioner grudgingly confirmed that, as a result of the president's executive amnesty, illegals could actually get as much as $24,000 from the IRS by retroactively claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a refundable tax credit! In other words, the head of the IRS confirmed that the IRS can indeed hand out thousands of Americans' hard-earned taxpayer dollars to illegal immigrants. This is wrong and unfair to hardworking American families, and my bill rights this wrong.

The PATH Act also includes reforms modeled on my ITIN Reform Act (H.R. 2478), which seeks to stop the fraudulent use of Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs). Originally issued by the IRS to enable individuals without Social Security Numbers to report their income and pay taxes in the U.S., ITINs have over time become a ticket for illegal immigrants to get cash benefits from the federal government (such as the $1,000 refundable child tax credit). My reforms seek to stop this from happening, and the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates these reforms will save $3.4 billion.

Finally, the PATH Act includes an important anti-fraud provision with respect to the child tax credit that comes from my Refundable Child Tax Credit Eligibility Verification Reform Act (H.R. 2334). My bill would prohibit individuals, namely illegal immigrants, who fraudulently file for the refundable child tax credit from being able to get it for 10 years. In another victory for the American taxpayer, the PATH Act now includes this 10-year penalty for the child tax credit.

Despite the fact that Congress faces an uphill battle against Obama's executive amnesty so long as President Obama is in office, I'm nonetheless thrilled to see my hard work pay off for the American taxpayer. But make no mistake, there's more to be done. That's why, as chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee, I've introduced the No Social Security Numbers and Benefits for Illegal Aliens Act. This bill would prevent illegals covered by Obama's amnesty from getting Social Security numbers as well as Social Security benefits.  Bottom line: All Americans want, need and deserve better. As we gear up for 2016, protecting Americans and our rule of law will continue to remain a top priority of mine.

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