WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — A new report finds that the Internal Revenue Service mailed $4.2 billion in child-credit checks to undocumented immigrant families.

The $1,000 checks are being sent through the Additional Child Tax Credit program to families that are in the United States illegally, the Watchdog.org report finds. The IRS payment process has never received full congressional scrutiny, fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, David North, told the Washington Times.

He writes that “an almost casual policy decision” by IRS to make these payments to illegals, other IRS practices which make it easy for illegals to get big refunds, and a “fuzzy-minded Congress” all were factors in the massive payout.

“The law needs clarification that undocumented immigrants are not eligible,” Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the top GOP member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Watchdog.org in a statement. “Unfortunately, the majority leader (Harry Reid, D-Nev.) cut off debate, so we weren’t given the chance to offer our amendment.”

Watchdog reported in June that Social Security numbers are increasingly being substituted out for Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, with such holders not required to prove legal residency.

The IRS told Watchdog that it doesn’t believe the agency can deny payment to undocumented immigrants under the ACTC law.

North estimated that an average of 15 percent of ACTC refunds are directed to undocumented households.

In August, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that the IRS is not in compliance with their returns of improper Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) payments. The IRS’ rate of improper EITC payments for the fiscal year of 2012 was estimated between 21-25 percent, totaling nearly $62 billion overall.

Watchdog.org is a non-profit organization that employs independent journalists to cover state and local government functions.


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