Senate rejects Cruz effort to block stimulus checks for undocumented immigrants
The Senate voted along party lines Saturday morning to reject an amendment sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a potential 2024 White House candidate, to block $1,400 stimulus checks from going to undocumented immigrants.
The amendment failed by a vote of 49 to 50, with a slim majority of the Senate voting against it.
Eight Democrats had voted for a similar amendment sponsored by Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), another White House hopeful, early last month during a debate on the Senate budget resolution. However, the Democratic caucus stayed unified on Saturday in defeating the Republican amendment.
All Republicans voted for it.
“This amendment before us today provides that the stimulus checks should not go to illegal aliens in this country,” Cruz said while introducing the amendment. “The question for the American people to answer is, should your money, should taxpayer money, be sent, $1,400, to every illegal alien in America?”
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) slammed the measure while accusing Cruz of exaggerating the flow of stimulus payments to undocumented immigrants. He pointed out that the pending $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill treats payments to families with undocumented immigrant members the same way as the $900 billion relief bill passed by the GOP-controlled Senate in December and signed into law by former President Trump.
“The statement of the senator from Texas is just plain false. False! Let me be clear: Undocumented immigrants do not have Social Security numbers, and they do not qualify for stimulus relief checks,” he said.
Durbin accused Cruz and other Republicans of trying to collect political ammo for the campaign trail.
“They want to be able to give speeches that say the checks go to undocumented people,” he said, accusing Cruz of trying to “rile people up over something that is not true.”
Eight Democrats voted for a similar effort sponsored by Young and Cotton to establish a reserve fund to bar illegal immigrants from receiving economic impact payments or other direct temporary assistance.
They were Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).
The amendment to the Senate budget resolution was later stripped out by a substitute amendment offered by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).