Meng Seeks Coronavirus Assistance Funds for Immigrants

Aug 7, 2020
Press Release
Congresswoman leads letter to congressional leadership calling for next COVID-19 relief package to include economic impact payments for those with Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITIN)
QUEENS, NY – Today, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) led a letter to House and Senate leaders calling for the next coronavirus relief package to provide economic impact payments to millions of immigrants who file their taxes with an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN).
 
In March, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The measure provided checks of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child to help taxpayers with financial burdens caused by the COVID-19 crisis. But the legislation only allowed the money to be sent to those who file their taxes with a Social Security number which left immigrants who use an ITIN with nothing. These include nearly 200,000 New Yorkers.
 
“It is critical that the next coronavirus relief bill make ITIN filers eligible to receive economic impact payments,” said Congresswoman Meng. ”Making these funds available to those with ITIN numbers is long overdue, and I urge congressional leaders to do everything possible to ensure that immigrants, many of whom have been essential workers during the coronavirus outbreak, are not excluded again. Working immigrants and mixed-status families have felt the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. They too have been hit hard by the crisis and deserve relief just like millions of American citizens do. We must not turn our backs on them.”
 
“Immigrant workers have been at the forefront of responding to this crisis, and have suffered enormously from both the virus and the economic fallout,” said Javier H. Valdés, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York. “They absolutely must be included in any cash payments from the federal government, as well as unemployment insurance and other forms of urgently-needed support.”
 
“For months, New York’s immigrants, the folks who are keeping our economy going and taking care of our loved ones, have received not a single penny in relief because of their immigration status, and their family members have also been left out in the cold,” said Steve Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “In May, the House Democrats passed the HEROES Act, which offers the support every New York family deserves right now to recover from the pandemic’s hardships. We are proud to join Congressmember Meng in calling on congressional leaders to fully include immigrants in getting stimulus checks—and send more than $1.2 billion in federal revenues to the Empire State. Don’t go home without it!”
 
The HEROES Act, a relief package passed by the Democrat-led House in May, contains a provision that would allow individuals with ITIN numbers to receive economic impact payments. The bill has not been passed by the GOP-controlled Senate.
 
The text of Meng’s letter, which was signed by 33 other Members of Congress, is below and a copy of the correspondence can be viewed here.
 
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Dear Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader McCarthy, Majority Leader McConnell, and Minority Leader Schumer:
 
As you continue negotiations on the next COVID-19 stimulus package, we urge you to prioritize vital economic relief assistance in the form of economic impact payments to all tax-paying individuals, including immigrants who file taxes with an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN). 
 
In late March, Congress passed the CARES Act that provided a one-time economic stimulus payment to U.S. citizens, U.S. residents, and those with social security numbers. This payment was helpful in alleviating many struggles and challenges families experienced due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, those with ITIN were excluded and did not receive assistance when they should have. The House-passed Heroes Act included this provision and it is imperative that the next coronavirus relief bill also include ITIN filers as eligible to receive an economic impact payment.
 
As you know, COVID-19 does not distinguish one’s immigration status. As such, vital protections and relief assistance should be accessible to all communities, regardless of immigration status. As we address the economic impact of this pandemic, we must keep in mind that immigrants make up a disproportionate number of essential workers who risk their own lives to save lives, keep our cities running, and ensure Americans have access to food. We strongly urge you to ensure that immigrant workers and taxpayers have access to economic impact payments in the upcoming COVID-19 stimulus package.
 
Sincerely,