Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) argued on Tuesday morning that limiting benefits such as tax credits for illegal immigrants could easily result in enough funds to pay for a border wall.
President Donald Trump has promised to crack down on illegal immigration ever since he began running for the presidency.
He has been most recently fought to get $5 billion to fund a security wall along the southern border. The president even threatened a government shutdown to get the funds.
Inhofe has another plan for the source of the money.
“You require a work-authorized Social Security number to claim a child tax credit, an earned income tax credit or any of the other tax credits,” Inhofe told host Laura Ingraham on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”
“Currently only the child needs a Social Security number, not the parent who actually receives the money.”
Inhofe introduced a bill designed to limit illegal immigrants from accessing social and welfare programs on November 1.
The WALL Act would fund the border wall through the money saved on limiting those programs to people in the country legally.
“The bill requires the parent to have a work-valid Social Security benefit in order to receive benefits,” Inhofe said. “The Joint Committee on Taxation it would create $33-and-a-half billion. It requires … E-Verify to verify citizenship before getting welfare.”
The bill requires a work-authorized Social Security Number (SSN) to claim refundable tax credits.
It would also require welfare applicants to verify their citizenship. It also clarifies what an asylum seeker is — so that only people who are escaping persecution or political violence can qualify.
The debate over border wall funding has put the federal government on course for a shutdown. Trump has threatened to veto spending bills that don’t include funding for his border wall. Democrats have refused to give him anything for the wall. Both sides have to fund the rest of the government before Friday.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) met with the president on December 11 to discuss spending and the border wall. But the meeting quickly devolved into an argument. Trump proclaimed he was willing to shut down the government in the name of border security.
Schumer said they first offered the president a deal in which lawmakers would pass six of the remaining appropriations bills and a one-year continuing resolution for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security funding bill to give time to debate border security. The second option was a one-year continuing resolution for all of the remaining spending bills.
Trump has more recently appeared to back down some from his shutdown threats.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday the administration wants to avoid a government shutdown and has found other ways to fund the border wall.
She said a shutdown was not the president’s only option.
“We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion,” she told Fox News.
Congress still has seven spending bills to pass to avoid a government shutdown deadline. Congress was able to fund most of the government by passing the two biggest minibus packages. The Senate and House had to pass a continuing resolution on December 7 to fund the federal government for two weeks to avoid a shutdown.
Lawmakers even faced an earlier deadline that they were able to extend on September 30 before a government shutdown.
The second package of spending bills also included a continuing resolution that extended the original shutdown deadline. Trump signed the package into law September 28.
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