Immigrant Advocates Encouraged by Increased Immigrant Inclusion in New Federal COVID-19 Relief Package, But Assert the Deal Doesn’t Go Far Enough

 

WASHINGTON –  Last night, Congress passed a historic $900 billion stimulus package after over eight months of gridlock, which includes stimulus checks for some U.S. citizens in  mixed-status families who were previously left out of relief due to the immigration status of their spouse and/or parent, among other provisions.

“While this deal is a step in the right direction, it is not nearly enough to address the profound need of Americans across the country, especially members of marginalized communities who have borne the brunt of the crisis. The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) calls on the incoming Biden-Harris administration to commit to a comprehensive and inclusive COVID-19 recovery package that provides necessary relief to all Americans, regardless of their immigration status,” said Nicole Melaku, executive Director of NPNA.  “Furthermore, we urge the incoming administration to end the continued allocation of funds to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) used to deport and detain immigrants and tear apart families.”

Under the new COVID-19 relief package, U.S. citizens married to non-citizens who file taxes using an ITIN number will become eligible to receive stimulus checks of up to $600 per adult and dependent. This new round of stimulus will also deliver retroactive relief to these families who were shut out from assistance under the CARES Act, provided that at least one person in the family files taxes with a social security number.

However, missing from the deal is relief to U.S. citizen children born to parents without social security numbers, as well as families where no one has lawful immigration status. Additionally, the bill also allocates $23 billion in taxpayer dollars to the DHS deportation force of  Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, including $1.375 billion for border wall construction.

The exclusion of U.S. citizens married to undocumented immigrants from stimulus payments under the CARES Act was a senseless and harmful policy that denied support to nearly ten million immigrants and U.S. citizens in mixed-status families struggling to make ends meet during a global pandemic that has disproportionately impacted immigrants, Black people, and other communities of color. While members of Congress have taken some positive steps to rectify these past missteps by including mixed-status families in the next round of relief, the exclusion of children — including many with U.S. citizenship — whose parents are undocumented still leaves many families without critical federal support during this ongoing pandemic and economic crisis.

This stark reality was emphasized by Diego Iñiguez-López, NPNA policy and campaigns manager: “Immigrant families of all statuses make significant contributions to our communities, and are overrepresented in frontline jobs critical to the nation’s COVID-19 response. Congress’ callous decision to continue excluding these families from any form of relief represents a failure of the federal government to address the country’s critical needs during a time when we are experiencing a resurgence in COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in cities across the nation. Our communities deserve and demand better.”

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The National Partnership for New Americans is a national multiethnic, multiracial organization that represents 39 of the largest regional immigrant and refugee rights organizations in 35 states. Its members provide large-scale services for the communities, to leverage their collective power and expertise for a national strategy. More information about the New American Voters 2020 campaign is available at http://newamericanvoters2020.org/