Covid Bill Loaded With Goodies for Illegals

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Democrats offer illegals virtual amnesty, stimulus handouts, relaxed immigration enforcement.

By Mark Anderson

Four Republican senators recently wrote to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Phillip Swagel seeking an analysis of the languishing HEROES Act—another massive federal legislative package intended to provide additional direct payments to American citizens and spur overall economic recovery to counteract Covid-19’s impact—in terms of its cost to taxpayers. The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act carries an estimated price tag of $2.2 trillion.

The senators’ core concern is that the bill (H.R. 6800), which received final passage by the House on a vote of 208-199 the evening of May 15 but had a relatively slim chance of Senate action at press time, would provide jobs, government handouts, and free health care to illegal aliens.

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Breitbart News has called this legislation “effective amnesty” for millions of illegal aliens who can avoid deportation because they can be deemed to be working in “critical infrastructure” jobs. In some agricultural sectors, such as harvesting crops, that may be true, of course, depending on the time of year. However, while the legislation reportedly has broad parameters for defining the word “critical,” its critics maintain the legislation, if signed into law, would enable businesses to hire cheaper illegal aliens for scarce U.S. jobs even as tens of millions of American citizens remain unemployed, underemployed, or out of the labor force entirely amid about nine months of government-induced slowdowns and shutdowns of the economy over a pandemic that is being eyed for a record-setting tort lawsuit.

The senators who wrote the letter to the CBO are Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah). “It’s time the American people have a fuller understanding of exactly how much Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi’s policies will cost them,” the senators wrote. “While we have estimates of how much H.R. 6800 may cost in total, we believe Congress must know the costs of the specific provisions providing benefits to illegal immigrants.”

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The senators stressed in their letter that “by not requiring individuals to have a Social Security number, potentially millions of illegal aliens will be able to claim a stimulus payment. How many illegal immigrants will be able to claim payments under this provision? What will the cost of such payments be to the American taxpayer? Finally, if provisions were in place to prevent payments to illegal immigrants, how much additional money could be provided to individual American citizens by virtue of these savings?”

The nonprofit organization Numbers USA, which opposes illegal immigration, issued a press release on the senators’ letter, in which it states: “Mass immigration has proven direct impacts on the nation’s working and middle class, who are forced to compete for U.S. jobs with millions of newly arrived illegal aliens and even more legal immigrants every year. . . . Though the big-business lobby and corporate interests claim that the labor pool must be expanded to provide them with a never-ending flow of foreign workers in [their] efforts to continue endless GDP growth . . . more than 50 million Americans today remain unemployed, underemployed, or out of the labor force, though all want full-time jobs. President [Donald] Trump’s agenda, opposed by big business and corporate lobbyists, has sought to tighten the U.S. labor market through increased immigration enforcement and an overall decrease in employment-based immigration, which, in return, has delivered jobs and higher wages (which have not increased since the late 1970s) to working-and-middle-class Americans.”

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In contrast, the initial legislative package to offset the effects of Covid-19, the approximately $2 trillion CARES Act that was signed into law March 27—which provided $1,200 to individual U.S. citizens and $2,400 to married citizen couples filing jointly—explicitly blocked payments to noncitizens who lack Social Security numbers (SSNs) but file their federal income tax returns using Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITINs), according to the liberal American Immigration Council (AIC). The HEROES Act, however, “would provide one-time direct payments to a greater

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population of low-and-middle-income families and adults in the United States.”

The AIC added that non-citizens who pay their taxes using ITINs would become eligible for these payments, and the HEROES Act would also extend payments to individual citizens with SSNs who file joint returns with noncitizen spouses who use ITINs.

Mark Anderson is AFP’s roving editor. Email him at [email protected].