A group of seven children have sued Donald Trump’s administration after it denied their migrant parents access to crucial relief funds amid the coronavirus pandemic because they were living in the United States without documentation.
The kids — all US citizens — were asking in the complaint to represent millions of other children living in the country with undocumented parents.
Congress passed the sweeping $2trn Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March, which included $1,200 payments for taxpayers earning up to $75,000 and $500 for every child.
However, taxpayers must have Social Security numbers in order to qualify for the relief — meaning that, despite the fact many undocumented immigrants work and pay taxes annually, they would not be able to receive any of the crucial funds. Taxpayers who are married to undocumented immigrants are also unable to receive the payments.
The lawsuit argued that families with children who are US citizens should be entitled to the $500 payments, regardless of whether one or both of the parents lack papers to be living in the country legally.
“The refusal to distribute this benefit to US citizen children undermines the Cares Act’s goal of providing assistance to Americans in need,” the complaint read.
It went on to say the barring of undocumented immigrants with American children “frustrates the act’s efforts to jumpstart the economy” and “punishes citizen children for their parents’ status”.
The lawsuit also argued such a punishment was “nonsensical” due to the fact that “undocumented immigrants, collectively, pay billions of dollars each year in taxes”.
The lawsuit was filed earlier this week in federal court in Maryland. It cited the US government and US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin as defendants.
Studies have shown immigrant populations as well as black and brown communities in the US stand to face the most severe impacts from the pandemic, with more workers from each group on the front lines and considered essential than other demographics.
While the federal government has refused to provide relief to undocumented immigrants, California announced new initiatives last month to support the state’s immigrants. Nearly 10 per cent of California’s workforce is undocumented.
California’s initiatives are meant to provide undocumented immigrants with one-time payments of $500 per adult.
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