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Gillibrand says illegal immigrants should receive COVID-19 stimulus payments, unemployment benefits

Illegal immigrants without Social Security numbers are currently not eligible to receive the $1,200 direct payments for COVID-19

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Sen. Gillibrand
Sen. Gillibrand
Michael Brochstein / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Updated: April 14, 2020 - 4:05pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said that Congress should allow illegal immigrants to receive $1,200 coronavirus stimulus checks as well as unemployment benefits.

The CARES Act, in its current form, does not allow individuals who file tax returns with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to receive stimulus checks or other benefits.

According to the American Immigration Council, illegal immigrants who use ITINs for tax filing are not able to use them for work authorization or state and federal benefits. 

Just the News has previously reported that some illegal immigrants who filed tax returns in 2018 or 2019 with active Security Security numbers will receive direct payments under the CARES Act. 

A group of House Democrats supports amending the CARES Act so that all illegal immigrants with ITINs are able to receive the direct $1,200 payments.

Gillibrand said she supports this effort but added that undocumented immigrants should also qualify for additional benefits in the legislation, beyond stimulus checks.

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"I think every one of the COVID relief measures should be eligible to a tax ID identified person. So if you have a tax ID number, you are a worker and you should be able to, obviously, get the unemployment insurance," Gillibrand said during a conference call with the press.

"You should be able to get whatever relief packages there are because they are workers and they are part of our community and they are part of the country, our families and our fabric, so we want to make sure they are included. And the tax ID number is the quickest simplest way to do it," she added.

The $2.2. trillion CARES Act that included the direct payments and expanded unemployment insurance was the third COVID-19 relief bill that President Trump signed into law. The phase one and two bills included increased food stamp spending, free testing and two weeks of paid sick leave.