The $2.2-trillion package that Congress approved to offer financial help during the coronavirus pandemic has one major exclusion: millions of immigrants who do not have legal status in the U.S. but who work here and pay taxes.
The government expects to begin making payments to millions of Americans in mid-April. Anyone earning up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income and who has a Social Security number will receive $1,200. The payment steadily declines for those who make more. Legal permanent residents, or green card holders, are expected to benefit.
About 4.3 million mostly unauthorized immigrants who do not have a Social Security number file taxes using what’s known as a taxpayer identification number. Many say they pay federal taxes because they hope it will one day help them achieve legal residency and because they feel it’s the right thing to do.
Asked how immigrants without legal status would survive the pandemic’s economic toll without any aid, President Trump acknowledged the difficulty but said many citizens without work needed help first.
“It’s a really sad situation, and we are working on it. I will tell you I’m not going to give you a hard and fast answer because I just want to tell you it’s something I think about,” Trump said.
Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation last week in the House and Senate that would allow immigrants to access relief funds. “COVID-19 does not care about your immigration status, so neither should our response,” U.S. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat, said in a statement.