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Updated May 11, 2012 - 6:23 am

Findings: Illegal immigrants receive $4 billion in tax refunds

PHOENIX -- Last year, undocumented workers received over $4 billion in benefits from the United States government.

It's because of the dependents they're claiming on their tax returns. Even though they may be here illegally and aren't supposed to have a Social Security number, the Internal Revenue Service still requires them to pay taxes and gives aliens a special identification number to file a return.

Under the additional child tax credit, they get an extra $1,000 dollars for every child they claim as a dependent.

Valley immigrant-rights attorney Daniel Ortega said this is news to him.

"Then again, I don't do any tax-preparation work and I'm not involved in any tax law," he said.

Some people are abusing the loophole. WTHR-TV in Indianapolis, for example, found four illegal immigrants in one mobile home who claimed 20 dependents. They received nearly $30,000 from the IRS, but only one child was living in the home.

Ortega said those who break the law should be prosecuted or deported.

"Anyone of any background should not commit fraud on their taxes," he said.

"If that is the case and that is true, then they should be dealt with -- whether they're rich or poor, undocumented or not -- in the same fashion as anybody else."

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