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Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com

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Thursday, May 07, 2020

U.S. citizens locked out of stimulus payments turn to federal courts

U.S. citizens locked out of stimulus payments turn to federal courts
by AAron Lorenzo

Some U.S. citizens who have been been denied economic stimulus payments are asking federal courts to declare their exclusion unconstitutional.
U.S. children of immigrants and Americans married to immigrants who lack Social Security numbers filed separate federal lawsuits to get the payments, which they were disqualified from in the coronavirus rescue package enacted in March.
In the spouse-related class-action complaint filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for Central California, an anonymous U.S. citizen living in that state is suing over being denied payments because she files taxes jointly with her spouse, an immigrant with an individual taxpayer identification number, or ITIN, not a Social Security number.
The payments — of up to $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for couples and $500 per eligible dependent under 17 — can only go to taxpayers who file their taxes using a Social Security number. An exception for mixed-status households was made for military families only.
Some 1.2 million Americans are married to immigrants who don’t have Social Security numbers, according to the lawsuit.
"Discrimination based on the fundamental right to marry is presumptively unconstitutional and subject to strict scrutiny," it argues.
President Donald Trump, other administration officials and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel “humiliate Plaintiff and the children of Mixed-status Families, including hers, by treating them adversely as compared to other families."
Forcing them to file their taxes separate from their spouses to qualify for the payments would subject them to higher tax rates and deny them of other tax benefits, the suit added.
The child-related complaint was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for Maryland on behalf of seven children who are U.S. citizens and their parents, with support from the immigrant advocacy group CASA. Because of the ITIN exclusion, U.S. citizen children of undocumented immigrants who pay taxes using ITINs haven’t received payments.
The prohibition violates the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law and defeats the purpose of the economic rescue package, known as the CARES Act, said the complaint, which was filed by Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and Villanova Law professor Leslie Book.
"The refusal to distribute this benefit to U.S. citizen children undermines the CARES Act’s goal of providing assistance to Americans in need, frustrates the Act’s efforts to jumpstart the economy, and punishes citizen children for their parents’ status — punishment that is particularly nonsensical given that undocumented immigrants, collectively, pay billions of dollars each year in taxes," the suit says.

For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/