Coronavirus Checks for Illegal Immigrants? Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey All For ‘Em

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Should the federal government give stimulus checks to illegal immigrants?

Massachusetts U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-Malden) and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Cambridge) say yes. Most other senators say no.

The topic arose late this week in the form of a resolution brought to the Senate floor by two Republicans.

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Indiana) introduced  S.Amdt. 54 to S.Con.Res.5. The Senate concurrent resolution, introduced by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), “establishes the congressional budget for the federal government for FY2021, sets forth budgetary levels for FY2022-FY2030, and provides reconciliation instructions for legislation that increases the deficit.” 

The purpose of the Cotton-Young amendment is “To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to preventing legislation that would allow illegal immigrants to receive Economic Impact Payments or any other similar direct, tax-based temporary financial assistance.”

In other words, if the bill passes, it would prevent illegal immigrants from receiving stimulus checks.

In a statement tweeted out by the Senate Republican Communications Center, Young said:  “Economic Impact Payments were intended to provide a lifeline to Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. Not for people who are in our country illegally. Our amendment would ensure that people who break our immigration laws aren’t receiving taxpayer-funded handouts.”

The amendment passed 58-42 on Thursday, February 4 with bipartisan support. All 50 Republicans voted in favor of it and eight Democrats joined them. However, most Democrats opposed the measure, including Warren and Markey.

The vote comes as the U.S. Senate discusses whether to approve a third round of coronavirus stimulus checks. President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party favor $1,400 stimulus checks. However, several reports say the full amount may go only to individuals earning less than $50,000 per year or married couples earning less than $100,000 per year.

The Federation for American Immigration reform estimates that there are about 14.5 million illegal immigrants in the United States. About 78 percent of the U.S. population is adult, according to the Kids Count Data Center. If 78 percent of those illegal immigrants are adults and they all earn less than the income threshold, then sending them all stimulus checks would cost $15.83 billion.

The offices of Markey and Warren could not be reached for comment on Friday.