Massachusetts Legislators Look to Offer Stimulus Checks For Undocumented Taxpayers Denied Federal Relief

Massachusetts legislators are looking to roll out state stimulus checks for undocumented immigrant taxpayers that have been shut out of federal coronavirus relief.

In April, the Trump administration released its first round of stimulus checks to taxpayers across the country, with most taxpayers receiving $1,200 each, as well as an additional $500 per child under the age of 17.

In order to receive the stimulus funds, however, recipients needed to have a social security number, leaving undocumented taxpayers, who pay their taxes using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs), unable to access the relief funds.

Now, in Massachusetts, legislators are seeking to address that disparity, with new legislation aimed at carving out funding for state-distributed coronavirus relief checks for immigrant taxpayers excluded from federal relief.

Titled "An Act to Provide Equal Stimulus Checks to Immigrant Taxpayers," the new bill, presented by Democratic Massachusetts representatives Christine Barber and Tricia Farley-Bouvier, would draw on funds from the state coffers, unless the U.S. government opens up future stimulus funds to undocumented immigrants.

Under the measure, undocumented taxpayers would receive the same amount of funding that they were previously denied by the federal government, with reductions made for certain taxpayers with higher incomes.

An accompanying bill has been introduced in Massachusetts Senate under the same title.

Speaking with Newsweek on Wednesday, Farley-Bouvier said undocumented taxpayers should be able to receive support amid the pandemic just like other taxpayers in the U.S.

"When I learned that so many taxpayers were denied benefits under that federal package, that was really troubling," she said. "This is a way that we can make some of that right."

If the measure is passed, Massachusetts would follow in the footsteps of California, which has launched a financial support fund to assist undocumented immigrants amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the $125 million coronavirus relief fund last month in an effort to support undocumented immigrants shut out from federal stimulus funding.

The fund consisted of $75 million in state donations and another $50 million from private philanthropists, with relief being distributed in one-time payments providing $500 in support per adult, with a cap of $1,000 per household.

"Every Californian, including our undocumented neighbors and friends, should know that California is here to support them during this crisis," Newsom had said in a statement at the time. "We are all in this together," he said.

Pedestrians walk through Fan Pier Park in the Seaport neighborhood on May 13, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. Massachusetts legislators are seeking to provide coronavirus relief checks to undocumented taxpayers. Maddie Meyer/Getty