The coronavirus stimulus package was meant to put emergency spending money into the economy, issuing a $1,200 check to most Americans that they can use to pay their bills in this time of hardship, and help stimulate businesses in the process. Now, though, we’re learning about all the strings that are coming attached to that hastily passed package — including the fact that U.S. citizens aren’t eligible to receive the money if they’re married and filed taxes jointly with an immigrant who doesn’t have a social security number.
The LA Times reports that there are more than a million Americans in this position across the country. This is just one more way the Trump administration has found to attack immigrants, no matter how they arrived in this country.
Ashlee Ramirez, a registered nurse who has spent the last month working long hours in an emergency room and helping to intubate COVID-19 patients, has not received stimulus money because she files her taxes jointly with her husband, Fredy, a Honduran citizen pic.twitter.com/7AAeUWqjRP
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) April 21, 2020
According to the Times, the stimulus bill doesn’t just pass over immigrants who don’t pay taxes. Any immigrant without a social security number — even if they have a tax ID and pay U.S. taxes — can render their entire family ineligible to receive any money.
This isn’t about documented versus undocumented immigration, either. Immigrants to the U.S. receive a social security number only when they receive a work permit, which means there are a whole host of visas immigrants can use to come to the country perfectly legally (student or fiancé visas, for example) that won’t get them a work permit or a social security card. For people on non-work visas, it’s impossible to obtain a social security number until obtaining permanent resident status, which is a whole other process that takes a ton of paperwork, a ton of money, and months or even years of waiting, depending on how backed up the system was at the time they applied. The LA Times interviewed a number of people who are in the middle of the months-long process of applying for a legal green card, whose families won’t receive stimulus checks because of it.