Editor’s note: When it comes to immigration — illegal or otherwise — the American people have a right to be concerned. Each week, Liberty Nation author Kelli Ballard examines a contentious issue related to today’s hottest topic.
As Americans patiently wait to receive that $1,200 stimulus check to help with family finances during the Coronavirus pandemic, advocates for illegal immigrants are demanding that the undocumented receive federal funding, too. Should they? The first answer that comes to mind is an emphatic “no.” But is it smart to deny immigrant workers financial relief during the crisis? Let’s examine the two opposing viewpoints.
No, They Should Not Receive the Aid
President Donald Trump has been adamant about border control and reducing illegal immigration numbers. This determination has increased since COVID-19 hit American shores, forcing both the northern and southern borders closed. There are between 10 and 12 million undocumented migrants in the United States right now.
Illegal immigrants are here without permission, and as such they should not receive federal assistance that is so desperately needed by Americans. Chris Chmielenski, deputy director of Numbers USA, stressed the importance of U.S. citizens first:
“Our top priority has to be helping Americans and helping legal permanent residents who are most affected by the crisis both from a health perspective and economic perspective.
“With one of the worst jobless reports in quite a few years, the primary focus right now should be on American workers and lawful immigrants. We should make sure that those people are taken care of first.”
Since they are here illegally, undocumented immigrants are not entitled to benefits and aid meant for and paid for by the American people. The president takes that position and also has enforced the public charge rule to prevent immigrants from depending on welfare and other government support, which undocumented alien advocates are demanding to be overturned.
Yes, Undocumented Workers Should Receive Relief Pay
There are approximately eight million alien workers in the United States, and many are employed in the service and farming industries, which have been severely hurt during the Coronavirus pandemic. Since most people, immigrants included, can’t afford an extended time off work without pay (and since many do not claim the income so cannot file for unemployment either), they continue to go to work if their businesses are open. Supporters argue that illegal immigrants put themselves at risk to help feed and provide other necessities for Americans during the crisis, so they should be compensated with stimulus benefits as well.
Open-border fans have circulated a petition that asks supporters to demand relief payments for illegal immigrants. A section in the document reads:
“All people, regardless of immigration status, must be included in the stimulus. Cash payments must go to all taxpayers, including immigrants who pay using an ITIN [Individual Tax Identification Number] … coronavirus testing and care must be free and accessible to all: Amend Emergency Medicaid to cover COVID-19 costs, so patients get care regardless of immigration status.”
However, as Liberty Nation reported, Trump said last week that immigrants can be tested for the virus without having to worry about deportation. So what is America’s obligation to immigrants who work here illegally in essential businesses? Should we offer them the same type of relief as citizens or continue with the president’s strong immigration control program?
Read more from Kelli Ballard.