NY group hit Schumer over lack of immigrant benefits in relief measures

Greg Nash

A New York immigrant advocacy group on Tuesday released an ad targeting Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) over the exclusion of many immigrants and their U.S. citizen relatives from prior coronavirus relief packages.

The New York Immigrant Coalition (NYIC) ad comes as Congress is negotiating a new stimulus package to offer relief to people hurt by the economic crisis resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Chuck Schumer says he supports immigrants when the cameras are rolling,” says a voiceover in the ad. “But three times he’s agreed with Donald Trump to exclude immigrants from stimulus legislation.”

In previous stimulus packages, all immigrants without a Social Security number (SSN) were excluded from receiving economic stimulus at the behest of administration officials, according to sources with knowledge of the conversations.

Administration officials threatened to veto any legislation that included taxpaying immigrants who don’t have an SSN and file taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). That group includes many undocumented immigrants, but also foreign nationals who pay taxes in the United States but don’t live here throughout the year.

The exclusion extended to relatives of ITIN holders, including U.S. citizen spouses and children.

“The results are devastating,” says the NYIC ad. “Over a million New Yorkers, taxpaying immigrants and their American citizen children and spouses have been shut out of financial relief and lifesaving COVID treatment.”

Although Schumer has publicly criticized Senate Republicans and the administration over their hardball negotiating tactics on immigrant exclusion, NYIC advocates say he’s fallen short on defending immigrants and their families.

“No, I don’t think he has done enough,” said Steve Choi, the executive director of NYIC and its political arm, NYIC Action. “I know that the senator and Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.] — I have no doubt they believe in our cause, but at the end of the day, results are results.”

“What is clear is their record includes three stimulus packages that have not only penalized immigrants, but their American citizen families,” he added.

“This push is aimed at the wrong target. Sen. Schumer has fought hard and long for immigrants, and is opposed every step of the way by the virulently anti-immigrant Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell,” wrote a spokesperson for Schumer.
“Millions of immigrants have benefitted from coronavirus relief bills that provided enhanced unemployment benefits, eviction protection, job retention and preservation of immigrant-owned small business via the Paycheck Protection Program and more. He and Speaker Pelosi continue to fight for immigrants in future legislation,” added the spokesperson.

According to NYIC, 1.2 million New York residents have been excluded from coronavirus relief, depriving the state of more than $1 billion in stimulus funds.

“Tell Senator Schumer we’ve heard enough talk,” the ad closes. “It’s time to deliver for all New Yorkers.”

The ad will air 115 times on three local stations, as well as on social media and YouTube, targeting viewers who follow Schumer, Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) ‚ who has been seen as a possible future challenger to Schumer.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Charles Schumer Chuck Schumer Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump Immigration Mitch McConnell New York Immigrant Coalition Unemployment
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