Mixed-status immigrant families eligible for $600 stimulus checks in COVID bill
U.S. citizens and green card holders previously excluded from the first round of stimulus checks in April if they were married to an undocumented immigrant are likely to receive the second round of COVID bailout money.
The House and Senate are expected to vote on Monday evening on the massive 5,593-page government spending and coronavirus aid spending, which includes payments of up to $ 600. The exact timing of the legislation's entry into force is uncertain but is expected to pass after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin approved a compromise proposal on Sunday evening after months of inaction.
"We have reached an agreement with the Republicans and the White House on an emergency coronavirus aid and omnibus package that will provide much-needed funds to save the lives and livelihoods of the American people if the virus accelerates" Chuck Schumer, chairman of the Pelosi Minority Senate said the joint statement. "Under the deal, Democrats have made provisions that ... include a new round of direct payments worth up to $ 600 per adult and child, including ensuring that families with mixed status receive payments. "
Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio and North Carolina Republican Senator Thom Tillis “applauded” the inclusion of mixed families in their legislation Monday night.
"This measure will ensure that a US citizen is eligible for an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) if they are married to a foreigner who is not currently a US citizen," they said, noting the admission do will apply retrospectively as a refundable tax refund and that "eligibility is also included for the next round of EIPs".
The unsent stimulus money for U.S. citizens married to non-nationals from the CARES Act bill, which went into effect in March, will be applied retrospectively as a refundable tax refund in addition to the new payments in the upcoming second round of COVID bailouts.
"The provision of the provision that banned some eligible American citizens from receiving a federal stimulus check under the CARES Act was an oversight that needed to be corrected," Rubio said in an interview with a Telemundo network earlier this year. “No American should have been prevented from receiving federal aid during a global pandemic because they got married. I thank Senator Tillis and my other Senate colleagues for their leadership in reaching the finish line. "
In late March, the Senate unanimously passed a $ 2 trillion economic rescue plan that provided financial aid to Americans across the country amid the global health pandemic. The checks, which amounted to up to $ 1,200 per adult and $ 500 per child, were sent to American households - with the exception of households where an undocumented immigrant lived.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, around 16.7 million people in the United States have been living in families with mixed status as of March 2019. About 11 million of these people are undocumented.
"The bipartisan inclusion of US citizens married to non-citizens in business reviews is economically important, politically wise, and morally right," said Rebecca Shi, executive director of the American Business Immigration Coalition, an organization that has worked with both Republicans for months working together and Democrats to ensure that families of mixed status are involved in any business.
While the Congressional bill takes some relief from certain mixed-status families, it also puts billions in detention and deportation systems that target them, according to immigrant advocates.
"On the way out, the Trump administration is using much-needed COVID aid to raise more cash for the DHS coffers - and Congress is complicit," said Madhuri Grewal, a political advisor to the American Civil Liberties Union.
The finance bill includes: $ 1.375 billion for Customs and Border Protection to continue building the Trump administration's southern border wall, and $ 2.8 billion for Immigration and Customs Control to detain up to 34,000 people daily.
"With the lowest ICE detention levels in over a decade, Congress has had a real opportunity to break away from detention and invest in our communities," said Sarah Gardiner, director of Freedom Policies for Immigrants, an anti-immigration detention group . "It is deeply disappointing that after the deadliest year for immigrants in ICE detention in 15 years and amid a global pandemic, elected officials have decided to fund the detention of 34,000 people - twice the number currently in ICE detention."
According to the federal government, 15,993 immigrants were in ICE detention on Friday.
Miami Herald Washington correspondent Alex Daugherty contributed to this report.
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