U.S. citizen children of undocumented parents who are excluded from the $2 trillion federal coronavirus relief package filed a federal class-action lawsuit Tuesday.
By Marisa Peñaloza
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Maryland by the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown University Law Center along with CASA, a nonprofit immigrant rights organization serving the Washington, D.C.-area and Pennsylvania, on behalf of seven children, ranging in age from 7 months old to 9 years old, and their parents.
“My daughter is a U.S. citizen,” said Carmen, the mother of one child in the lawsuit who did not want to give her full name because of her immigration status.
“Just as any other U.S. citizen child, my daughter deserves to have equal rights,” especially during this pandemic, Carmen said. “It’s an injustice.”
As job losses continue to increase nationwide due to the public health pandemic, the federal government’s enormous Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, signed into law March 27, provides an economic lifeline to millions of people who pay taxes using their Social Security number instead of the individual taxpayer identification number, or ITIN, used by Carmen and many other undocumented immigrants.
Every eligible individual receives a $1,200 check if the person has an income of less than $75,000 per year, or $2,400 if a couple files taxes jointly. If the income is higher, the amount varies. Individual taxpayers’ children also qualify for $500 per child under the age of 17.
Carmen said she pays income tax every year using her ITIN. Before the pandemic she worked two jobs in the food industry — one at a catering company and another at a pizzeria.