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Report: Illegal immigration costs $296 billion in lost taxes

Mariana Azpeitia, a farm worker from Mexico, holds the flag of Mexico and a sign in Spanish that say "Without hands there are no beans" as she demonstrates in front of the Homestead, Fla., City Hall building Monday, May 1, 2017. Immigrant and union groups marched in cities across the United States to mark May Day and protest against President Donald Trump's efforts to boost deportations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Tax credits received by illegal immigrants and wage write-offs U.S companies claim in their illegal employment costs the Treasury $296 billion over 10 years, according to a new report that is urging Congress to crackdown on the loopholes.

Annually, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, the lost taxes bill is about $30 billion, enough to fund the average middle income tax cut the Trump administration is considering, about $300.

That comes on top of wage losses to legal workers of $118 billion when companies illegally hire undocumented aliens, said CIS.

The financial hit to Americans and the Treasury could impact President Trump's bid to tackle illegal immigration and boost jobs and wages for Americans. In addition, it is part of the administration's consideration of continuing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that has given legal status to 800,000 young adults, may of whom are employed in the U.S.

The new "backgrounder" from the prominent immigration reform group urges changes in the tax code, a top Trump and GOP congressional agenda item when the House and Senate return to Washington next week.

CIS targets the wages for illegal immigrants that companies write off as operating expenses and the child tax credits illegals can receive through an IRS loophole.

"The economic rewards of unauthorized employment of aliens are not limited to the higher wages of the illegal workers and the lower labor costs of their employers. Unauthorized alien workers and their employers also enjoy multi-billion dollar tax deductions and tax credits that were enacted into law for the benefit of law-abiding workers and businesses," said the report.

It estimates the wage write-off at $25 billion a year, or $254 billion over 10 years. The tax credit loss is estimated at $4.2 billion a year.

CIS said that as Congress and Trump move to give legal Americans a tax cut, it should consider a crackdown on tax fraud and loopholes for illegal immigrants.

Said the report: "When Congress returns from summer recess on September 5, it is expected to focus attention on a major reform of the federal income tax system, including a combination of lower rates and other tax incentives to families and to businesses. The largest challenge facing tax reformers is finding sufficient additional revenue to pay for the tax cuts and tax incentives they promised to the people who elected them. In fairness to the American families and businesses to whom these tax cuts have been promised, and in particular to the American families whose household incomes have been diminished by illegal immigration, Congress should consider eliminating unwarranted tax breaks to unauthorized alien workers and their employers."

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com