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Why the Next Federal Relief Package Must Address Mixed Status Immigrant Families

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If you Pay Taxes, You Should Be Treated Like All Other Taxpayers

As Congress debates the contents of the next pandemic relief package, an editorial and a column in the Washington Post highlight why Trump and congressional Republicans’ punitive decision to exclude mixed immigration status families from the previous round of relief violates the law, basic decency, and our collective national interest. The millions of American citizens left out of previous packages because one or more of the taxpayers in the family lack a Social Security number must be addressed, including through a retroactive fix, in the next relief package. 

According to Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice

By excluding mixed status families from relief in the previous COVID-19 legislative package, Trump, his administration and their Republican allies are defining a new standard in which some taxpayers are more deserving than others. Trump and Co. are desperately trying to blame and dehumanize immigrants. It’s always central to their approach to politics and policy and it’s an effort that’s been turbocharged during the COVID-19 crisis. But we know that effectively fighting the pandemic requires all of us working together, not falling into their ‘us vs. them’ view that ‘others’ immigrants and excludes mixed status families. All of us means all of us. Congress must ensure that the next COVID-19 package includes a fix for mixed status families so that they too can get the relief they need during this crisis.

Below, find excerpts from the Post editorial and a column by Joe Davidson:

Washington Post editorial,Trump is withholding relief from U.S. children — just to spite their undocumented parents notes:

President Trump promised that the $2 trillion economic stimulus bill he signed in March, providing direct payments to tens of millions of Americans, would “deliver urgently needed relief to our nation’s families, workers and businesses.” But more out of spite than in the furtherance of any rational policy goal, several million Americans were specifically excluded from the relief plan: U.S. citizens who are children or spouses of undocumented immigrants.

In the midst of a pandemic ravaging the nation, lawmakers and the administration saw fit to insert and enact that provision of the law, for no apparent reason beyond its punitive effect. The vast majority of the nation’s babies, toddlers, middle-schoolers and teenagers younger than 17 are eligible for $500 payments — generally rendered to their parents — but not if either their mother or father is an unauthorized immigrant.

Singling out children for punishment arising from their parents’ immigration status is a senseless act of vengeance.

The Washington Post column by Joe Davidson, “She’s a U.S. citizen. He’s not. Their family can’t get a stimulus check,” spotlights the issue:

Christina Segundo-Hernandez and Jose Segundo have worked for years, building a life for their four children in Fort Worth. She handles packages for the United Parcel Service, while he works construction.

But like millions of others, the coronavirus pandemic has been devastating to their finances. Once drawing an annual household income of about $56,000, the family’s earnings dwindled as Jose’s hours were cut in half and Christina now works about eight hours a week.

That’s why the relief payments Congress overwhelmingly approved in the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (Cares) Act would mean so much to them — if only they were eligible. The law provides $1,200 to citizens with adjusted gross incomes below $75,000 and $500 per child.

Despite paying taxes, the entire family is prohibited from receiving the payments because one member, Jose, does not have a Social Security number. Christina and their children are U.S. citizens, Jose is not.

But Jose does feed government coffers using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), which is available to noncitizens regardless of their legal status. It’s not clear how many families are in the same situation as the Segundo-Hernandez household, but about 4.35 million people with an ITIN paid $13.7 billion in taxes in 2015, according to an American Immigration Council report citing IRS data.

… ‘It’s hard to believe that people would be so cruel to say that American citizens, just because of who their parent was or who they marry shouldn’t get the same rights as every other American citizen,’ Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said during a conference call organized by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. ‘Senate Democrats are going to fight like hell to help ensure that all American citizens in need, regardless of the immigration status of their spouses or parents, are provided the support they need to be healthy and economically stable now and in the future.’