On behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration (USCCB/COM), I to urge you to consider supporting the American Citizen Coronavirus Relief Act, introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC). This legislation is a step in the right direction to help ensure that certain immigrant families, specifically those which include a U.S. citizen parent, are eligible to receive the stimulus funding under the CARES Act. While the American Citizen Coronavirus Relief Act does not protect all U.S. citizen children who are currently ineligible for stimulus funding under the CARES Act, this legislation is an important effort to ensure that more mixed-status families are able to receive support they desperately need to ensure family stability and health during this uncertain time.
The Catholic Church’s commitment to assisting immigrants is rooted in the belief that they, like all God’s children, were created in His image and have a unique and sacred human dignity. Our work on behalf of immigrant families, in particular, is centered around the importance of the family unit to society. As Pope Francis has stated, the family “is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation.” Families are an essential element of our communities, parishes, and nation; they are what holds America together. Upholding and protecting the family unit, regardless of its national origins and its immigration status, is vital to our faith and to our country.
The American Citizen Coronavirus Relief Act would amend the CARES Act law and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to adjust identification number requirements for taxpayers filing joint returns to receive Economic Impact Payments. These changes would ensure that U.S. citizens with an undocumented spouse and U.S. children are able to receive the stimulus funding set forth in the CARES Act. With this change, more mixed-status immigrant families will be able to receive the assistance they need. We are pleased with this critical step and the effort to include more immigrant families in vitally needed relief efforts. We respectfully request that serious consideration be given to be more inclusive of the CARES Act stimulus relief to all U.S. citizen children, regardless of their parents’ immigration status. We firmly believe that such life-affirming relief for U.S. citizen children should not hinge on their parents’ immigration status.
We know that there is much need now for assistance and immigrant families, particularly mixed-status families, who are hurting. From our work supporting and ministering to immigrant communities, we know that their livelihoods and general health outcomes could be greatly improved by this addition.
We are thankful to our elected legislators in Congress for their work in helping our country respond to the coronavirus pandemic and the long road we face ahead in recovery. We ask that you consider sponsoring the American Citizen Coronavirus Relief Act as it is a step forward to ensuring that all are included in the recovery efforts. Additionally, we urge you to ensure all U.S. citizen children are eligible for CARES relief. We must continue to come together to ensure for the advancement of the common good and the inclusion of those who are left on the margins.
Most Rev. Mario E. Dorsonville
Auxiliary Bishop of Washington
Chairman, USCCB Committee on Migration