WASHINGTON, DC — Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart each introduced bills today in Congress, that provide a partial fix for spouses of immigrants who were denied federal relief in the last round COVID-19 stimulus legislation. It will be the first step in addressing the exclusion of immigrant families from CARES Act COVID-19 relief.

Millions of immigrants and their U.S. citizen family members hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic were excluded from the CARES Act because a member of their household files taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). The two bills introduced today would provide a partial fix for the problem. If passed, the bills will allow spouses of ITIN filers to be eligible for stimulus payments.

Kamal Essaheb, deputy director at the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement: “We applaud Rep. Diaz-Balart and Sen. Rubio’s introduction of the Economic Impact Payment Fairness Act and the American Citizen Coronavirus Relief Act, respectively, as a step toward rectifying the exclusion of immigrants in previous COVID-19 relief bills. However, work remains to be done, under the bills’ provisions, millions of U.S. citizen children will remain ineligible for and
thus continue to be left out of much-needed financial relief.

“Many immigrants and their families have been unfairly excluded from federal COVID-19 relief thus far, despite the fact that the pandemic and resulting economic crisis have impacted immigrants and communities of color more extensively than others. Excluding immigrants from financial relief harms entire communities. We need to ensure that everyone — regardless of their birthplace — has access to the testing, health care, and financial support they need. We will get through this crisis only if we come together and take care of everyone in our communities. We urge the Senate, in its next COVID-19 relief bill, to adopt the inclusive approach embodied in the HEROES Act language.”

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