Ilhan Omar: Next Relief Package Must Provide Cash Payments to Non-Citizens

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., left, joined at right by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) on Tuesday proposed legislation that would extend cash benefits from the latest emergency coronavirus relief measure to members of “mixed status” families and stressed that the next stage of relief must extend cash payments to non-citizens.

An individual must have a Social Security number to receive the cash benefit portion provided in the CARES Act — a requirement that has been met with heavy criticism from several members of the Democrat Party, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Her fellow “Squad” member agrees, with her press release lamenting that the bill “leaves out many noncitizens and mixed status families—even if members of the family are citizens.”

As a result, Omar introduced the Recovery Rebates Improvement Act which “fixes the major error by expanding the special rule for the military in the CARES Act.” However, Omar also called for comprehensive legislation in the next relief package to “ensure that all noncitizens, whether holding a SSN or not, can access these relief payments.”

“It is absurd and cruel that a taxpaying, mixed status couple or family could be excluded from this relief,” Omar said in a statement.

“Over 140,000 Minnesotans live in mixed status families of some form. As currently written, many Minnesotans who are in this country legally or part of a mixed status family will not receive any stimulus money, even if one of them has a social security number but the other does not,” she explained:

Per the release:

The CARES Act provides a one-time stimulus payment of $1200 for most adults and $500 for children under the age of 17. In order to receive payment, the CARES Act requires identification in the form of a Social Security Number (SSN). Under current statute, married couples filing jointly with any non-SSN identification will not be eligible for the stimulus payment.

The Recovery Rebates Improvement Act will expand the eligibility requirement to ensure joint tax filers with one SSN will receive payment and provide more people with vital economic assistance. Comprehensive legislation is needed in the next package to ensure that all noncitizens, whether holding a SSN or not, can access these relief payments.

She also sent a letter to the Department of Treasury, urging it to address the eligibility requirements to “clarify how certain taxpayers and dependents can actually receive these payments.”

Three House Democrats, Reps. Lou Correa (CA), Judy Chu (CA), and Raúl Grijalva (AZ), introduced a measure to amend the CARES Act, extending the cash benefits to ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers) taxpayers, which includes those residing the country illegally.

“The Leave No Taxpayer Behind Act amends the CAREs Act to ensure that all taxpayers are eligible for their $1,200 relief check,” the release states, adding that “every individual taxpayer irrespective of citizenship status should receive government assistance.”


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