CARES Act policy prevents some Americans married to non-citizens from getting stimulus payments

A policy in the CARES Act is preventing some Americans who are married to non-citizens from getting their federal stimulus payments.

News 12 Staff

Apr 30, 2020, 12:24 AM

Updated 1,452 days ago

Share:

Millions of American citizens and their children are not getting stimulus payments because they're married to non-citizens who don't have Social Security numbers. And some tell Kane In Your Corner they feel like their country is treating them as "second-class citizens.”
Three separate class-action lawsuits were filed on Wednesday, contending the Trump administration’s policy is unconstitutional.
Vanessa Arita is a lifelong New Jersey native, but her husband, Kevin, is from Honduras. She says they didn't expect him to qualify for a stimulus payment, but were shocked to learn that because of him, neither did she or their son.
"To exclude my son and myself and millions of other American citizens who have every right to that stimulus package was a slap in the face," she says.
It was a similar experience for Lynette Spencer, whose husband Jorge, is from Mexico.
"I am an American citizen and so are my children," she says. "It is unfair. It feels discriminatory and it’s insulting."
The CARES Act says that to qualify for a stimulus payment, an individual must have submitted a tax return that includes a valid Social Security number. But if they filed a joint tax return, their spouse and children must also have valid Social Security numbers. If anyone on the tax return doesn't, then everyone is disqualified.
Randall Emery, president of the immigration reform group American Families United, calls that policy "fundamentally wrong."
He says the Trump administration was trying to crack down on undocumented immigrants, who can't get Social Security numbers and use individual taxpayer identification numbers, or ITINs.
Photos: Your Coronavirus Pandemic Experience
undefined

"The Senate passed a bill that had this exclusion in it, the House passed a bill that did not," Emery says. "And when all was said and done with the negotiations, this stayed in."
But some say in the effort to crack down on illegal immigration, Americans are the ones being abandoned.
"You have over 5 million American children in the midst of a pandemic, why would you deny them assistance?" says Sen. Bob Menendez, who is trying to secure funding for these "mixed-status" families.
Menendez says it's particularly egregious that people like Vanessa Arita and Lynette Spencer are only being penalized because they filed taxes jointly with their spouses, something the government instructs couples going through the immigration process to do.
"In ways to understand that it's not a sham marriage, a marriage that's not just for immigration purposes, one of the many ways in which you show that is cohabitating together, having property together, and certainly filing your tax returns together," Menendez says.


More from News 12
0:14
Police: 7-year-old struck by car in Newark; driver fled scene

Police: 7-year-old struck by car in Newark; driver fled scene

2:09
Partly sunny, mild Sunday for New Jersey

Partly sunny, mild Sunday for New Jersey

0:33
Police: 46 dogs rescued from fire at industrial complex in Fairfield

Police: 46 dogs rescued from fire at industrial complex in Fairfield

1:30
New Jersey residents enjoyed warm spring temps ahead of chilly, windy evening

New Jersey residents enjoyed warm spring temps ahead of chilly, windy evening

0:17
Police: Man dies, 2 others injured following shooting in Newark

Police: Man dies, 2 others injured following shooting in Newark

1:32
Jersey City Night Market holds 5th straight celebration

Jersey City Night Market holds 5th straight celebration

0:25
Police: Pedestrian fatally struck by car in Gloucester Township

Police: Pedestrian fatally struck by car in Gloucester Township

0:25
Camden County rabbi convicted of hiring men to kill his wife dies in prison

Camden County rabbi convicted of hiring men to kill his wife dies in prison

Knicks beat 76ers 111-104 in Game 1 of playoffs. Brunson and Hart score 22 points and backups star

Knicks beat 76ers 111-104 in Game 1 of playoffs. Brunson and Hart score 22 points and backups star

0:13
Authorities: Kenilworth man sentenced to 10 years in prison for selling cocaine

Authorities: Kenilworth man sentenced to 10 years in prison for selling cocaine

0:15
Authorities: Berkley Township man sentenced to 20 years in prison for fatal stabbing

Authorities: Berkley Township man sentenced to 20 years in prison for fatal stabbing

0:28
Man who set himself on fire outside Trump trial dies of injuries, police say

Man who set himself on fire outside Trump trial dies of injuries, police say

1:13
CDC: Children ER visits increased last 3 years for accidental Melatonin ingestion

CDC: Children ER visits increased last 3 years for accidental Melatonin ingestion

1:42
Police: Marlboro teacher accused of inappropriately touching student faces charges

Police: Marlboro teacher accused of inappropriately touching student faces charges

0:32
Man who lit himself on fire outside Trump trial has ties to New Jersey

Man who lit himself on fire outside Trump trial has ties to New Jersey

0:56
Graffiti of former Palestinian militant Leila Khaled found spray-painted at Rutgers University

Graffiti of former Palestinian militant Leila Khaled found spray-painted at Rutgers University

0:09
Police: 2 men critically injured in Newark shooting

Police: 2 men critically injured in Newark shooting

2:16
Public warned to keep their dogs away from seals at the Jersey Shore

Public warned to keep their dogs away from seals at the Jersey Shore

0:59
Jersey Proud: 3 men running the length of New Jersey for ‘Dylan’s Wings of Change’ charity

Jersey Proud: 3 men running the length of New Jersey for ‘Dylan’s Wings of Change’ charity

0:35
Tesla recalling nearly 4,000 Cybertrucks because accelerator pedal can get stuck

Tesla recalling nearly 4,000 Cybertrucks because accelerator pedal can get stuck