BOSTON — Three state elected officials, including state Sen. Jamie Eldridge, an Acton Democrat, filed legislation last week to give immigrant families financial support during the difficult times of coronavirus.
Eldridge and state Reps. Ruth Balser and Liz Miranda filed the Immigrant Taxpayers Stimulus Act on April 21.
The bill was composed and filed as a response to immigrant taxpayers that haven’t been receiving stimulus checks under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27. Though the $2.2 trillion stimulus package provided many Americans with checks of $1200 for individuals, the act excluded taxpayers who filed returns with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number instead of a social security number.
“As a first generation Cabo-Verdean American, I grew up in a working class immigrant family that strived for the American dream in parallel with all families,” Miranda, a Boston Democrat, said in a press release. “My family paid their taxes, played by the rules and contributed to the community. Now, in a global pandemic, families like mine are experiencing historic economic and health instability compounded with disproportionately high rates of COVID-19. Investing in all families is a critical public health tool to tackle the existing inequities this virus has inflamed.”
If signed into law, the bill would provide stimulus checks to those who filed taxes with ITINs equal to those under the CARES Act. The amount of credit provided by each check would mirror the CARES Act guidelines and be issued via direct deposit. The bill would also provide $10 million to immigrant aid organizations.
“If this public health crisis has made one thing clear, it’s that we are all in this together,” Balser, a Newton Democrat, said in the press release. “All residents of Massachusetts need the same protection from the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. Immigrants, regardless of status, who have been working and paying taxes should receive the same stimulus check that everyone else in the community receives.”
Eldridge said that since last week, the bill was assigned to the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Revenue while many advocate groups have expressed support for the bill. Eldridge said he received multiple calls from immigrant constituents inspiring the bill, though he cited two particular points of contact: one from an Acton resident who was an Uber driver but lost his income once virus reports began to build and the other from Pastor Constantino Pereira Jr. of the Assembly of God Ministry in Hudson who told Eldridge that many of his congregation lost their jobs and were ineligible for the CARES stimulus checks.
“Contrary to what some people might think, this is a very diverse district,” Eldridge said.