Looking For That Sweet Sweet Stimmy? Well, Marrying A Foreigner Was Your *First* Mistake
We keep learning new Fun Facts about the Coronavirus Bailout that make us love the various parts of it more and more. Large payments from the "small business" loans have gone to big companies. Plenty of Americans don't qualify for cash payments. The direct deposit payments are glitchy. And the paper checks that should finally start going out were delayed just a skosh by the need to put Donald Trump's damn name on them (which the Treasury Department now touts as a "security feature"). And as the Los Angeles Times reports, over a million American citizens won't qualify for a stimulus payment because they're married to non-citizens who don't have Social Security numbers. Yes, even for families where one parent and all the kids are citizens. This is a stimulus for Americans only. And not even all of them, either (see above).
As we've already noted, people who are in the country without papers don't qualify for unemployment benefits or for the stimulus payments, although in California at least Gov. Gavin Newsom has made some state payments available to undocumented folks. And as the LA Times explains, no stimulus payments are allowed for American citizens who made the bad choice of marrying someone who doesn't have a Social Security number. Roughly 1.2 Americans have spouses who lack legal status, but the IRS is perfectly willing to accept blended families' tax payments. And not having a Social Security number doesn't necessarily mean "undocumented," because some categories of legal immigrants still don't qualify.
Regardless of the reason, the stimulus bill specifically excludes those taxpayers from any relief.
According to the law, any family that files taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, which the Internal Revenue Service issues to workers who lack Social Security numbers, cannot receive an Economic Impact Payment
Ah, but there is one exception to that: If one spouse is a member of the armed forces, then the family can get a stimulus check. That's nice for The Troops, at least until the administration can find a way to deport them. But not for others who are serving their country during this crisis:
In Baltimore, Ashlee Ramirez, a registered nurse in an emergency room, has spent the last month helping to intubate COVID-19 patients. With her hospital short on protective gear, she has spent her own money on materials to make masks and face shields as well as on heavy duty garbage bags in case gowns run out. But she has yet to receive any economic stimulus money, even though her husband, Fredy, a Honduran citizen, received a Social Security number in January.
The story also profiles Los Angeles fourth-grade teacher David Hessell-Cercado, whose husband, a Mexican citizen, is in the process of applying for a green card. But he doesn't have it yet, so no stimulus money for Hessell-Cercado, who assumed that as a citizen, he at least would get a payment. No sir, because he's all tainted with foreign! May as well put his comment up on the Statue of Liberty after Ken Cuccinelli sandblasts that traitorous poem glorifying immigrants off the pedestal: "Really? We're here all in this together, but some of us aren't apparently."
You may now begin your hollow mordant chants of "USA, USA, USA."
Now, we should point out that the exclusion of citizens married to non-SSN-holding immigrants is not, for a change, something dreamed up by Stephen Miller. It was also the case in George W. Bush's 2008 stimulus check program, which also excluded rebates to Americans married to foreign spouses who didn't have the number that makes you a valid human being.
"It's almost spiteful," said Ally, a 48-year old former educator in Philadelphia who is married to a Brazilian citizen and has three children. She did not want her last name to be used for privacy reasons.
"It's like, 'Geez, my country still does not care about my family!'" she said. "I'm still a U.S. citizen. I should not be punished because of who I chose to marry."
When she married her husband 16 years ago, she never imagined their daughter would graduate from college before Congress fixed the immigration system.
Almost spiteful? Oh, Ally, you sweet summer child. Of course it's spiteful. The entire American political system is built on spite. The Times notes that, to make this a little less spiteful, Congressman Lou Correa (D-California) introduced the Leave No Taxpayer Behind Act. That bill, introduced earlier this month, would make the $1200 stimulus payments available to all taxpayers regardless of whether they have a Social Security number. But the Times notes that "the bill has little chance of gaining bipartisan support in the Senate." Because spite is still, along with Big Money, this great nation's driving force.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.