The Jane Doe plaintiff says she would’ve been eligible to receive a stimulus check–and that the only thing disqualifying her is her husband’s lack of a Social Security Number.
A California woman is suing the Trump administration, claiming she was refused a coronavirus stimulus check because of her husband’s immigration status.
In her lawsuit, the pseudonymous plaintiff—referred to only as Jane Doe—says she, as a U.S. citizen and taxpayer, should have been entitled to a relief check. Her individual income, says CBS, is under $75,000 per year. She also has children who are citizens, and should therefore have been entitled to additional stimulus funds.
But Doe was effectively excluded from the $2.2 trillion relief package provided by the CARES Act, which was passed by Congress at the end of March.
That’s because Doe files her taxes jointly—and her spouse, says CBS, doesn’t have a Social Security number. Instead, he—like many other immigrants—pays the IRS using what’s known as an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN.
Not only is there no way for Doe to appeal her exclusion—it seems that the Trump administration has made a specific, concentrated effort to ensure immigrant households can’t receive federal relief.
“But for her spouse lacking a Social Security number, plaintiff Doe would have received a stimulus check for herself and her children under the CARES Act,” the lawsuit states. “Had plaintiff not been married to an immigrant with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, plaintiff and her children would have otherwise qualified for a stimulus check. There is no mechanism by which plaintiff can dispute the government’s decision to deny her a stimulus check.”
The lawsuit is similar to another filed in Illinois last week, insofar as it argues that the Trump administration legally cannot deny CARES benefits to citizens simply because they’re married to immigrants. It also alleges that the federal government violated Doe’s constitutional rights, including her right to due process.
Furthermore, the suit says the Trump administration’s disparate treatment of citizens married to immigrants constitutes a unique form of discrimination. Doe, after all, is being exclude from benefits given to other citizens “based solely on whom she chose to marry.”
Along with helping Doe receive economic relief, the lawsuit hopes regulations preventing the provision of stimulus checks to mixed-immigration-status households will be declared unconstitutional. As it stands, more than $1.2 million Americans have not been able to receive stimulus checks because they’re married to immigrants.
Doe also wants the courts to issue several injunctions: one preventing the government from further altering the CARES Act’s terms, and another pre-empting later legislative attempts to provide economic aid to citizens while withholding it from those who are married or otherwise related to immigrants.