The Democratic-controlled Maryland House of Delegates approved legislation Friday that would allow immigrants who are illegally in the country to qualify for a state tax credit.
In a 91-44 vote, lawmakers passed an amendment for the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, which requires a Social Security number, to also include those with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN).
ITIN users include undocumented immigrants, foreign nationals and others who are not eligible for Social Security, according to the American Immigration Council.
House Democrats initially sought to include the extension in the state’s billion-dollar RELIEF Act passed earlier this month but backed off amid criticism from Republicans including Gov. Larry Hogan.
The state Senate, which is also controlled by Democrats, opted for a workaround by amending the tax credit law instead. The proposal passed last week in a 31-15 vote.
Opponents argue the tax relief would go to immigrants who are in the country unlawfully and that it would decrease the state’s general fund by $60 million each year it is in effect, WTOP reported.
Maryland Delegate Vaughn Stewart, Montgomery County Democrat, tweeted Friday that “ITIN filers aren’t ‘aliens.’ They’re our friends and neighbors.”
“My ancestors were immigrants, too. They were hillbillies and red necks,” Mr. Stewart tweeted. “They’d be mad as hell — and justifiably so — if they worked hard, loved their country, loved their state, loved their neighbor, and heard that some politicians in a marble dome wanted to exclude them from relief.”
The legislation now heads to Mr. Hogan. If he vetoes the measure, the General Assembly will have until April 12 to override his decision.
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