WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Mobile narrowly won an amendment to the immigration bill last night that would prohibit guest workers from receiving a valuable tax credit aimed at helping the working poor.
Sessions, who characterized the Earned Income Tax Credit as "welfare," argued that only American citizens should be eligible. His amendment passed 56-to-41; the final bill could come up for a vote Friday.
Opponents argued that Sessions' amendment punishes the very people who are trying to assimilate into the country and who most need a leg up.
The tax credit, created in 1975, gives people who earn below the federal poverty line a tax refund to help offset payroll taxes such as Social Security and Medicare.
Illegal immigrants currently are not eligible for the credit, and under Sessions amendment, immigrants granted temporary status to continue working in the United States would be ineligible until they win legal permanent residency.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)