WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in introducing the WALL Act, legislation that will fully fund the border wall along the southern border. Their legislation is the first bill that will fund the wall by identifying specific funding sources.
We can certainly afford the construction,” said Sen. Kennedy. “This legislation will save taxpayers $33 billion simply by ensuring that the taxpayers’ generosity isn’t wasted. If you want to receive food stamps and other benefits, then you should prove your citizenship. If you cross the border illegally or overstay your visit to this country, then you should pay a stiff penalty.”
“President Trump has called for a border wall and I agree,” said Sen. Inhofe. “As a former builder and developer in south Texas, I know border security is national security and we need to do more to deter the growing numbers of unauthorized immigrants coming across our borders. That’s why I’ve outlined specific ways to fund the border wall by assessing penalties on illegal immigration and closing loopholes that allow unauthorized immigrants to receive federal benefits. We’re going to build the wall through reforms that that protect the integrity of hardworking American citizens’ tax dollars. It’s that simple.”
“The primary responsibility of the federal government is the defense of our nation, which includes strong border security,” said Sen. Rounds. “The WALL Act will provide full funding for construction of a physical barrier along our southern border to protect against illegal immigration and stop those who wish to do us harm, such as terrorists, gang members and drug dealers, from entering the United States from the south. It pays for the wall by closing existing loopholes that allow illegal immigrants to receive federal benefits and increasing fines for illegal border crossings and visa overstays. By funding the wall through increased fines, we prevent any risk of dipping into Department of Defense (DoD) funding, which is already stretched thin. I thank Chairman Inhofe for his leadership on this effort and I look forward to advancing this proposal in the Senate.”
“I have long called for building a wall as a necessary step in defending our border and stopping the flow of illegal immigration into our country,” said Sen. Cruz. “The overwhelming majority of Texans and Americans want to see the border secured. The WALL Act would fully fund the border wall by closing existing loopholes that provide illegal immigrants with federal benefits and tax credits, without affecting the benefits and tax credits used by Americans.”
This legislation will fully fund the president’s $25 billion border wall while providing specific ways to pay for it:
- Require a work-authorized Social Security Number (SSN) to claim refundable tax credits, like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Child Tax Credit:
- Currently only the child needs a SSN, not the parent benefiting from the refundable child tax credit. The WALL Act would require the parent to have a valid work-eligible Social Security Number.
- Before 2003, the Social Security Agency did not distinguish between work-eligible and non-work eligible SSNs. Therefore, there are individuals benefiting from the EITC they are not authorized to receive because they are non-work eligible.
- Require welfare applicants (food stamps, TANF, HUD, etc) to verify citizenship:
- Currently someone only needs to “declare” citizenship and provide a SSN to receive some of these benefits.
- The WALL Act enhances citizenship verification prior to granting benefits using E-verify and require a work-authorized SSN for eligibility.
- Increasing the minimum fines on illegal border crossers and establishes minimum penalty for visa overstays.