Economic justice

Ensure economic justice for all immigrant families in the third stimulus bill

As President-elect Joe BidenJoe Biden White House: United States Donated 200 Million COVID-19 Vaccines Globally Police recommend charges against four people over Sinema bathroom protest. renewed his call to a third series of stimulus checks Friday to help Americans in difficulty, it would do well to start by correcting the exclusions of the first two stimulus packages. Even if the undocumented are overrepresented in jobs on the front lines of the pandemic, none of the previous stimulus bills have given them any relief. Worse yet, both bills also excluded their child citizens. The third impulse that the Biden administration is drafting must bring relief to immigrant families by including all taxpayers, regardless of their legal status.

Lawmakers celebrated the fact that the second coronavirus relief package the president signed in December 27 ultimately grants stimulus payments to the million joint citizens of undocumented immigrants unjustly excluded from the CARES law.

Under the new Coronavirus Relief Bill, citizen spouses married to undocumented immigrants will be entitled to up to $ 600 in relief payments and $ 600 for each dependent citizen. And when they file their 2020 taxes, they will also be entitled to retroactive payments from the first COVID relief bill – up to $ 1,200 for themselves and $ 600 for each dependent citizen.

But the new bill continues to exclude undocumented migrants who declare their taxes with an individual tax identification number (ITIN) – a number that the Internal Revenue Service grants to people ineligible for a Social Security number. And it roughly excludes 2.2 million child citizens that undocumented migrants enter on their taxes.

It is unfair that lawmakers ignore the plight of child citizens who grow up in mixed-status families, just as it is unfair that they exclude their taxpaying parents. Undocumented migrants pay billions in state and local taxes every year, and more than half pay federal income taxes. Undocumented immigrants are overrepresented in the workforce and on the front line of the pandemic. Out of around 7 million undocumented immigrants in the labor market, 5 million essential workers – in agricultural work, restoration, construction and maintenance.

In the United States, public policy has traditionally treated child citizens of undocumented parents like other citizens. But the Trump administration has set a dangerous precedent of discriminating against families with mixed immigration status. In April 2019, the administration proposed to evict families from social housing only because they had an undocumented family member. And the The White House deliberately introduced language in the first CARES law to exclude households with an undocumented member from receiving stimulus payments.

Undocumented migrants are already excluded from unemployment insurance. A Trump administration policy implemented in February 2020 penalizing immigrants who use public benefits has also caused many wary of asking for food stamps or income assistance for their citizen children. And now, the failure of the Second Coronavirus Relief Bill to correct the initial exclusion of these children only further ensures that they grow up as second-class citizens.

Because undocumented immigrants are not eligible for any federal aid, the lockdowns create unequal burdens for their child citizens. Depriving undocumented immigrants of economic assistance puts their children with unequal opportunities in life.

Karla, for example, is a 13-year-old daughter of undocumented parents living near Vail, Colorado. When the pandemic drove the restaurants where his parents worked to close, they lost seven months of income between them. In order to pay their monthly rent, her parents were forced to exhaust funds from Karla and her sister’s university.

Likewise, Bruno is an 18-year-old high school student living with his undocumented parents and grandparents. In the spring, her mother and grandmother lost their housework and her father lost his construction job. Bruno was the only member of the family with valid papers, and the only member who could get work in the large retail stores that remained open during the lockdown. Bruno therefore started working 36 hours a week at Walmart. He now has to repeat his last year.

In November, candidate Biden indicated his support for the HEROES Act, legislation that would have provided stimulus payments to all taxpayers, not just those with Social Security numbers. The newly elected president must not forget the undocumented migrants who supported the country during the pandemic and their child citizens. These heroes and their children deserve to be included in the third stimulus bill, and they deserve economic justice.

Sarah B. Horton is professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado at Denver and author of “They Leave Their Kidneys in the Fields: Disease, Injury and “Illegality” Among American Farm Workers. “


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