Cruz: Democratic relief bill includes $1,400 checks for non-citizens, incarcerated felons

Sens. Cotton, Cruz and Cassidy proposed an amendment to block prisoners from receiving checks. Democrats blocked the amendment in a 50-49 vote.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr - image resized

(The Center Square) — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas says the $1.9 trillion bill passed by Democrats in the House and Senate allocates $1 trillion to non-coronavirus-related relief spending, including payments to noncitizens and incarnated felons.

Prior to the bill passing, Cruz got into a heated debate with Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., with both men calling each other liars.

The Democratic spending bill will send $1,400 to every adult in the U.S. who earned less than $75,000 based on their 2019 tax return. Cruz argues these individuals include migrants who come to the U.S. to legally work on authorized work visas but overstay their visas, becoming undocumented or illegal immigrants unlawfully living in the U.S.

While working in the U.S., such workers can apply for and receive a Social Security number. The Social Security Administration states on its website that noncitizens can, and do, apply for Social Security numbers.

During his remarks, Cruz referred to an amendment he proposed that would prohibit illegal immigrants from receiving the $1,400 checks. Democrats blocked it.

Durbin said Cruz was lying and that, “Undocumented immigrants do not have Social Security numbers. And they do not qualify for stimulus relief checks, period. And just in case you didn’t notice, they didn’t qualify in December … To stand up there and say the opposite is just to rile people up.”

The Daily Beast and other news outlets said Cruz’s claim about illegal immigrants receiving money was “false.”

“As it so happens, it was Durbin who was lying, and he knew it. Why?” Cruz asked. “There are 12 million or more illegal immigrants, 60 percent of them are from visa overstays. Many (if not most) of them have Social Security numbers.

“When Durbin said, ‘illegal immigrants don’t have Social Security numbers,’ he was deliberately saying something false, knowing it would be repeated,” Cruz added, pointing to language in the bill.

But the language in the bill also authorizes money to be given to those without Social Security numbers. The amounts of $1,200 for adults and $500 per dependent is authorized to be given to those in the U.S. illegally who file taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

The bill language allows illegal immigrants who are “engaged in essential critical infrastructure labor or services in the United States” to be placed into “a period of deferred action” and authorized to work if they meet certain conditions. It also grants protections to employers for “the hiring, employment or continued employment” of undocumented workers.

“Once again House Democrats are trying to bail out millions of illegal aliens — and not just financially, but give them de facto amnesty as well,” FAIR’s government relations director RJ Hauman told Fox News. “This would be an unprecedented move and take desperately needed money and jobs away from Americans in the middle of a pandemic. Even though it has absolutely zero chance of becoming law, I hope voters are paying close attention.”

Also in the bill is language authorizing stimulus checks to be sent to the incarcerated in prison who paid no taxes in 2019. Every Democrat voted to send stimulus checks to the incarcerated, critics argue.

“Dylann Roof murdered nine people. He’s on federal death row. He’ll be getting a $1,400 stimulus check as part of the Democrats’ ‘COVID relief’ bill,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., tweeted. “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Bomber, murdered three people and terrorized a city. He’ll be getting a $1,400 stimulus check as part of the Democrats’ ‘COVID relief’ bill.”

Sens. Cotton, Cruz and Bill Cassidy, R-La., proposed an amendment to block prisoners from receiving checks. Democrats blocked the amendment in a 50-49 vote.

In fact, Democrats blocked all amendments proposed by Republicans.

Cassidy said in a statement, “Prisoners do not pay taxes. Taxpayers pay for their every need. Inmates cannot stimulate the economy. But, under this bill they receive stimulus checks. This is a perfect example of nontargeted, inappropriate, and total waste of spending. It’s ridiculous that this is in the bill.”

“COVID relief funding should go to hard-hit, law-abiding workers, not inmates serving their debt to society,” Cotton said. “Unfortunately, the Democrats would rather spend $2 billion on federal and state prisoners instead of American families.”