Congress Includes Americans in Mixed Immigration Status Families for Relief in Stimulus Package

In a significant win for the Texas economy, federal lawmakers chose to make Americans in mixed immigration status families eligible for economic impact payments in the spending relief package/omnibus they passed Monday night with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill now awaits a signature from President Donald Trump.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act will send $600 to every American with a 2019 adjusted gross income below $75,000 individual, $112,500 head of household, or $150,000 joint. It will also distribute $600 per dependent child.

This bill will also provide retroactive payments to the Americans with social security numbers who were excluded from the first round of economic impact payments issued in the CARES Act in March 2020 because they filed their taxes jointly with an unauthorized immigrant spouse in 2019.

This policy adjustment to the stimulus, to remove the “marriage penalty” and include those Americans in mixed immigration status families, will have an overweight impact for Texas, which has the second most of these legal residents of any state.

An estimated 291,000 US citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) living in Texas will now receive the $1,200 stimulus checks they were originally denied in addition to $500 for each LPR or citizen child they have, of which there are an estimated 318,000 in Texas. That is $508.2 million in addition to $365.4 million for the second round of payments, for a total of $873.6 million in spending power for these individuals and their kids living in Texas.

Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn was a strong advocate for these policy adjustments and co-sponsored a bill called the American Citizen Coronavirus Relief Act in August 2020 that sought to include them.

“Texans need relief now,” said Cornyn Monday.  “The economic impact of the pandemic, just like the virus itself, does not discriminate based on immigration status of one’s spouse, and we shouldn’t either when it comes to sending recovery checks to U.S. citizens.”

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