SAN FRANCISCO – President Donald Trump was sued over a provision of the coronavirus relief package that could deny US$1,200 (S$1,700) stimulus cheques to more than one million Americans married to immigrants without Social Security Numbers.
The suit was filed on Friday (April 24) by an Illinois man using the pseudonym John Doe, who seeks to represent all others in his position. Doe claims a carve-out in the relief package discriminates against him “based solely on whom he chose to marry””
The US$2 billion Cares Act, approved by Congress last month, provides US$1,200 payments to US taxpayers who earn as much as US$75,000 – plus US$500 for each child. But to be eligible, both spouses in families that file joint tax returns must have Social Security numbers – unless one of them is a member of the military.
That leaves 1.2 million Americans ineligible, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Chicago. The lawsuit cites the Migration Policy Institute which says on its website that’s how many “unauthorised” immigrants in the US are married to Americans.
Iowa state Senator Claire Celsi said on Twitter she’d been contacted by people who are affected.
Doe says he is married to an immigrant who pays taxes and files tax returns with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, which is issued by the Internal Revenue Service.
The suit names Mr Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Acting Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin. The three authorised the exclusion and in doing so, have failed to treat John Doe “as equal to his fellow United States citizens,” according to the lawsuit.