An estimated 43,000 additional Utahns will be included in the relief funding in this round of COVID-19 relief.
The bill amends what mixed-status families and many immigration advocates called an unfair punishment that left out U.S. citizens and taxpaying immigrants with legal residency because of the immigration status of their spouses or parents.
“I’m still in shock,” said Jane Lopez, a member of a mixed-status family. “I’m actually really glad that our lawmakers heard us and realized what a terrible idea it was to just cut citizens off from support just because of who our family members are.”
The bill also states that “non-resident aliens” are not eligible and that members of the armed forces will be eligible for a full $1,200 check on a joint return regardless of whether one spouse has an ITIN.
The bill’s change in eligibility requirements means an additional 5 million or so individuals will receive aid, including some 43,000 Utahns, according to estimates from the Migration Policy Institute. More than 9 million undocumented immigrants are still not eligible, and children who are U.S. citizens whose parents are undocumented and do not pay taxes will not receive aid.
The bill also retroactively makes the Social Security number holders in mixed-status families eligible for CARES Act checks.
“Fixing the provision that denied some eligible American citizens from receiving a federal stimulus check under the CARES Act was an oversight that needed correction,” Rubio said. “No American should have been blocked from receiving federal assistance during a global pandemic because of who they married.”
“I’m pleased that Congressional leaders used our legislation as the basis for the final package that has now passed both Houses,” Romney said. “Thousands of Americans are in dire need of the lifeline this legislation provides, and I urge the President to sign it without delay.”
The new bill also provides funding favored by those pushing for better immigration law enforcement. It gives $1.375 billion to Customs and Border Protection for the construction of the Trump administration’s border wall and nearly $8 billion to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Lopez, who in addition to being in a mixed-status family herself is also a Brigham Young University sociology professor who studies mixed-status families, said the juxtaposition is “a bitter pill to swallow.”
“Many mixed-status families living with and navigating the constant threat of deportation and detention every day and extra money to fund those programs is not great,” she said. “I feel like families like ours are forced to accept these kinds of bad deals at all if we want to be seen.”