Bill Seeks to Offer Equal Stimulus Checks to Immigrant Taxpayers

City Councilor Kenzie Bok (District 8) urged her colleagues to support an act recently filed that would provide equal stimulus checks to immigrant taxpayers. Despite paying an equal amount of taxes through the use of an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), many immigrant taxpayers have been left out of recovery reliefs during the pandemic.

Boston City Council discusses supporting an act to provide equal stimulus checks to immigrant taxpayers. Photo by Alyssa Nations.

In late March, the federal government issued stimulus checks under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. However, taxpayers without a Social Security Number (SSN) or families with mixed immigration status were excluded from receiving the federal “recovery rebate.” Most of these individuals are also deemed ineligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI).

Under the bill filed by Senator Jamie Eldridge and Representatives Christine Barber and Tricia Farley-Bouvier, immigrant residents who paid 2019 Massachusetts taxes, but were unable to collect a federal stimulus check, would receive stimulus checks from the state’s Department of Revenue. The amount for each check would be $1,200 for each individual, $2,400 for joint tax filers, plus $500 for each qualifying child.

According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, approximately 57,000 Massachusetts residents live in a household with an ITIN filer. To provide assistance that would fill the gaps left by federal relief programs to these residents would cost about $58 million.

5 Replies to “Bill Seeks to Offer Equal Stimulus Checks to Immigrant Taxpayers

  1. You have to be kidding me.

    Not bad enough that they take jobs and lower wages for the rest of us but now my tax dollars have to give them a stimulus?

    This is a joke right?

    Anyone, Dem or Republican who votes for this will be primaried and should lose their job.

    And only $58M? Are you kidding me? A mom and dad with just a couple of kids will get $3,400.

    Simple math shows that to be almost a fifth of a billion dollars.

  2. This would be a horrendous way to spend tax dollars. Our State coffers are already straining under the Covid crisis and we will need every dollar to help unemployed citizens and legal immigrants. While I’m concerned with the financial and medical health of all Massachusetts residents, rewarding those who break the rules and violate fair process is not only unfair to those who are here legally, but also encourages more illegal immigration. This legislation will underwrite unscrupulous employers who hire cheap illegal labor, and will further undermine America’s immigration laws which are a necessary part of having a sovereign nation.

  3. The stimulus checks are just like handing out candy for politicians. So why not hand out candy to the taxpayers that were left out. It’s the logical progression to eventual bankruptcy. States like Massachusetts are lobbying to get the Federal Government to bail out their mismanaged pension funds. This is one way to misdirect the funds and leave the pensions in the crapper. Buy votes is the end game.

  4. The gist of this bill is that Mass citizens have to pay for stimulus checks to people who are in our state illegally, whose presence enables business owners to pay lower wages to Mass citizens and legal immigrant workers due to the oversupply of cheap labor. I do not want to support their presence by paying higher taxes to provide these stimulus checks.

  5. There are two main reasons for opposing this bill. First and foremost, people who are in the country in violation of our laws do not deserve stimulus payments. The Federal government was right in excluding them from this program
    Second, people working here illegally already receive ample government support—in the form of schooling for children, free medical care, etc. Because their jobs pay badly and they are often paid under the table, they receive large benefits while paying little in taxes. Nationwide, federal, state, and local governments spend roughly $113 billion on illegal immigrants. Approximately $89 billion of that falls on state and local governments where their tax payments cover only five percent of their costs. The average unauthorized foreign worker costs the state $8,500 for which the average taxpaying household pays $870.

    The number of people residing illegally in Massachusetts has increased 33 percent over the last 10 years, to about 236,000 and they now constitute 5 five percent of the labor force. This surge drives down the wages of American workers and legal immigrants by creating an oversupply of cheap labor. Illegal immigration is a major cause of stagnating wages, lack of economic mobility, and rising inequality. Massachusetts has had the largest increase in the number of illegal residents and the sharpest decline in wages for unskilled workers of any state in the nation, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a left of center think tank. In effect, the taxpayers subsidize businesses that hire illegal immigrants, whom they exploit.
    Unfortunately, well-meaning politicians and social activists are trying to entrench this system more deeply. In addition to the stimulus bill, other bills pending in the legislature would give drivers’ licenses to unlawful residents and turn Massachusetts into a sanctuary state by forbidding local law enforcement from cooperating with the Federal government in identifying and removing criminal aliens.
    Given that 26 million Americans have just lost their jobs this year, with many more job losses undoubtedly to come, it is critical to stop encouraging violations of our laws and to start protecting low-paid and unskilled American workers.

    John Thompson
    Massachusetts Coalition for Immigration Reform (MCIR)

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