Democrats want illegal immigrants to receive coronavirus stimulus checks

Coronavirus 'does not care' about an individual's immigration status, says Rep. Judy Chu

Updated: April 6, 2020 - 2:36pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A group of Democratic lawmakers is advocating for undocumented immigrants to qualify for direct cash assistance due to coronavirus.

The $2.2 trillion CARES Act, in its current form, does not allow individuals who filed taxes for 2018 or 2019 using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to qualify for a stimulus check. Many undocumented immigrants use an ITIN to file income taxes in place of a Social Security number.

Reps. Raúl Grijalva (Arizona), Lou Correa and Judy Chu (both from California) have introduced the Leave No Taxpayer Behind Act, which would amend the coronavirus stimulus bill to allow every taxpayer to receive a $1,200 stimulus check, including undocumented immigrants who filed taxes with an ITIN. Rep. Jamie Raskin (Maryland) formally joined the bill as a co-sponsor on Sunday.

"COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate. It impacts all communities and people of all backgrounds. Our relief programs shouldn’t discriminate against those who need help during this crisis, and this legislation ensures that immigrants with ITINs can get the economic relief they deserve," Grijalva said in a statement.

To support her position on stimulus checks, Chu said coronavirus "does not care" about an individual's immigration status.

“The CARES Act is meant to help our whole economy survive this crisis. You cannot do that by excluding entire segments of the population. This virus does not care about immigration status," she said.

"Making it impossible for them to receive the same benefit we are sending to everyone else just means those immigrants will have a harder time affording food or rent, and that leaves us all worse off. I hope to see this corrected in the next relief package,” Chu added.

Correa said that "every individual taxpayer, irrespective of citizenship status, needs government assistance now.”

According to Raskin's office, other Democratic lawmakers who signed on as co-sponsors of the bill include Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rep. Alce Hastings of Florida and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.