Thousands of foreign nationals are reportedly mistakenly receiving $1,200 stimulus checks meant for American citizens struggling through the Chinese coronavirus crisis that has spurred mass unemployment.
In early April, President Donald Trump’s administration began delivering direct payments of about $1,200 in stimulus checks to all American citizens as relief in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. A report by Politico alleges that foreign nationals are now wrongly being sent the checks despite their ineligibility.
The foreign nationals receiving the checks had, at some time or another, secured a visa through various programs — particularly as J-1 and F-1 student visa holders:
College-age workers who spent time in the U.S. in the last two years … have been surprised to find $1,200 checks deposited into their bank accounts. And with no clear guidance on how to return it, they’re holding onto the money or racing to spend it before the Internal Revenue Service realizes the mistake. [Emphasis added]
The incorrect payments were likely distributed to thousands of foreigners in April, said Donna Kepley, president of the tax firm Arctic International who has spoken with dozens of clients over the past two weeks. The error stems from a common tax-filing blunder, particularly for those on F-1 student and J-1 exchange visas. These workers, studying at universities and working summer jobs, often turn to TurboTax and other e-filing systems without knowing that the systems are designed only for U.S. residents. [Emphasis added]
“One day I just saw my account and I had 1,200 bucks without even requesting anything,” said a French citizen who completed a graduate program at University of Toledo in 2018. “I knew they were planning to give stimulus payments but I didn’t know when it was happening.” [Emphasis added]
As Breitbart News has chronicled, China has maintained dominance over the United States’ student visa programs. Every year, the U.S. issues nearly 800,000 F, M, and J visas to foreign students and their family members, according to State Department data.
In Fiscal Year 2019, Chinese nationals secured nearly 117,000 F visas, more than 50,000 J visas, and more than 2,200 M visas. About 30 percent of all F visas delivered by the federal government are awarded to Chinese nationals each year.
There are nearly 500,000 Chinese students in the U.S. in any given year — more than any other nation — taking seats in university classrooms and looking to eventually obtain Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization to take entry-level jobs in white-collar professions.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.