In the weeks after U.S. President Joe Biden signed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that includes direct deposits of up to $1,400 per person to Social Security recipients, posts on social media are claiming that every adult and child living in the United States illegally may receive a stimulus check. This claim is false, as only those with valid Social Security numbers are eligible for payment under the American Rescue Plan of March 2021.
One Facebook post, seen here , shows an unidentified family of nine with “$1,400” typed across the faces of the two parents and seven children. Text on the photo reads, “Just slid over the border from Mexico. Never contributed a dam [sic] thing to this country.”
Other iterations can be found here , here and here .
Signed into law by the president on March 11 (here), the American Rescue Plan, the full text of which is available here , is one of the largest economic stimulus measures in U.S. history. About 21% of the bill, $400 billion, has been directed to one-time payments of $1,400 to qualifying Americans (here).
Following the direct payments granted by the CARES Act last spring and the Consolidated Appropriations Act in December, this third round of stimulus checks provides nearly 160 million U.S. households with direct payments of $1,400 per person, helping individuals earning up to $75,000 annually and couples up to $150,000. Those earning more, but less than $80,000 per individual or $160,000 per couple, will receive reduced amounts (here).
While it is true that certain families with mixed immigration status are eligible for payments, the meme’s claim that every person and child living in the United States illegally will receive a $1,400 check is false. As with the previous round of payments, certain mixed-status households, such as families with one parent who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and one parent who is living in the United States illegally are eligible ( here , here ).
As reported here by the Washington Post, the latest stimulus bill “does not penalize family members with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) — someone who is required to file a tax return even if they do not have a Social Security number, such as a dependent or spouse of a nonresident alien visa holder.” Under the previous stimulus package, mixed-status households were denied payment if the non-citizen spouse or parent had filed a tax return with an ITIN (here).
However, only the spouse with a Social Security Number can receive a stimulus check (here , here ). A mixed-status couple with no children, for example, would receive $1,400 from this round of payments if their combined annual income is less than $150,000.
By contrast, a couple consisting of two U.S. citizens without children and earning the same annual income would receive $1,400 each, or $2,800 total, in this round of payments.
Households without at least one family member with a Social Security number are not eligible for stimulus checks. For example, a single person living in the United States illegally or a couple living in the United States illegally with or without children will not receive any aid.
The family of nine described in the meme—two parents and seven children who “just slid over the border from Mexico”—would not be eligible for stimulus payments if they are living in the United States illegally.
Certain “qualifying resident aliens” with valid Social Security numbers for employment, such as participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders and H1-B visa holders, are eligible for payments ( here ). However, an undocumented single parent whose child is both a DACA and Social Security recipient is still not eligible for payment. (here ). Even if the children in the meme were early childhood arrivals and part of the DACA program, their parents, lacking Social Security numbers, would not be able to receive stimulus payments.
Lawful permanent residents, or “green card” holders, are another group of non-citizen residents who have Social Security numbers and are therefore eligible for payments (here). Further reading on who is considered a lawful permanent resident is provided here by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Only if one of the parents shown in the social media post were a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or qualifying resident alien with a Social Security card would he or she be able to claim those seven children as dependents. In this case, the family would receive $1,400 for the eligible adult, and $1,400 for each child.
In January, the Reuters Fact Check team debunked social media posts about stimulus checks and those living in the United States illegally, here .
False. Individuals living in the United States illegally are not eligible for coronavirus relief payments.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .
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