Congress Urged to Include Tax-paying Immigrant Families in Next COVID-19 Relief Bill

July 21, 2020

– Hayley Burgess, National Immigration Law Center, [email protected], 202-805-0375
– Erica Jordan, America’s Voice, [email protected], 704-654-2134

Immigrants’ Rights Advocates and Experts Urge Congress to Include Tax-paying Immigrant Families in Next COVID-19 Relief Bill

WASHINGTON, DC —  As Congress returns to work this week in the midst of a resurgent coronavirus pandemic, immigrants and advocates urged members of Congress to introduce a COVID-19 relief package that would provide critical financial and other support to all, including tax-paying immigrants and their families who were excluded in previous bills.

When Congress passed the COVID-19 relief package in March, millions of tax-paying immigrants were excluded from qualifying for financial relief, and many U.S. citizens were also excluded based on the immigration status of their family members. As a result, millions of U.S. citizens and taxpayers did not receive the financial help that their tax money paid for and on which tens of millions of people have depended to survive.

“The COVID-19 crisis has placed unparalleled strains on the country’s most vulnerable families, including immigrant families. In the CARES Act, Congress explicitly excluded immigrant families from qualifying for stimulus payments, if any taxpayer in the family filed taxes with an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN). That means that millions of U.S. citizen spouses and children were denied stimulus payments because one member of the family pays their taxes using an ITIN, not a Social Security number,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “This is punitive, hurts communities and public health, and is just plain wrong. Congress must act swiftly to right some of the wrongs in the last COVID bill and work across party lines to make sure that this recovery is truly a recovery for all.”

“My mother was one of the first to get fired at her job when the COVID-19 outbreak severely hit the States. In addition, my disabled father couldn’t find work before COVID, and his health condition and age make him susceptible to the virus, leaving him with no options but to stay home. This situation has left me as the sole income provider of a household of five,” said Luz Chavez-Gonzales, DACA recipient and member of United We Dream. “Despite a Supreme Court ruling, the Trump administration has made it clear that they want to deport immigrants like me. For now, DACA allows me to work and provides me with some peace of mind from the threat of deportation. Right now, with a health crisis and the uncertainty of Trump ending DACA, my family could lose our only source of income. Congress must extend protections from deportation for DACA, TPS holders, and other immigrants in the next COVID-19 relief package, so I can keep working to help provide for my family.”

“Like many families all over, we’ve been impacted by this pandemic. Even though we pay taxes like everyone else, we’ve been denied help when we need it most. It’s not fair. And we simply can’t continue like this. We’re very worried about what we’re going to do. We’re not asking for any special treatment, only that we don’t get cast aside. Our communities are suffering and our future and the future of our children hang in the balance,” said Lorena, Colorado resident, mother, and restaurant worker who files taxes using an ITIN.

“Enough is enough! The fact is that Washington has passed three stimulus packages that have shamefully excluded more than 1.2 million immigrant New Yorkers — including American children and spouses of immigrant taxpayers. Meanwhile immigrants continue to serve on the front lines of New York’s COVID-19 outbreak, ensuring the safety, health, and well-being of every single one of us, and contributing billions of dollars in taxes,” said Steve Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “Once again, Senate Minority Leader Schumer has the opportunity to ensure that our elected leaders stop playing partisan politics with our lives and finish what the House Democrats started by pushing for passage of the Heroes Act. All New York families need relief, now more than ever, and the cost of inaction is too high.”

Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera in Wisconsin, said: “Voces de la Frontera in Wisconsin has launched a campaign to support immigrant essential workers across industries. We immediately saw the extreme hardship that many families are enduring. In the absence of action from the federal government, Voces created a fund to support undocumented and mixed status families that did not qualify for previous stimulus funds. Due to high demand, the fund was quickly depleted. We need Congress to act now, and we call on Senator Tammy Baldwin to vote for an inclusive stimulus package that includes all Wisconsin workers.”


Recording of today’s press call about this issue: