The claim: 'Illegal aliens' will receive $1,400 stimulus checks
Following the passing of his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, President Joe Biden addressed the nation March 11 in his first prime-time address since taking office, urging Americans to stay vigilant and follow public health guidance as the nation sees improving coronavirus numbers.
The stimulus package, which passed the House and Senate without a single Republican vote, will deliver $1,400 checks to Americans and provide funding for reopening schools, vaccine rollouts and small businesses.
Before the bill passed, in a discussion on the Senate floor, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas questioned if it was fair for "every illegal alien in America" to receive a stimulus check.
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said Cruz's comments were "just plain false" because if an immigrant is here illegally, he or she won't have a Social Security number, which is required to receive a stimulus check.
Some social media users made similar claims to Cruz's, with one viral March 9 Facebook post claiming "Illegal Aliens Will Receive $1400 Stimulus Checks."
USA TODAY has reached out to the poster for comment.
Package excludes most immigrants not legally in USA
Biden's COVID-19 relief package excludes most immigrants who aren't in the U.S. legally from receiving stimulus checks, just like the relief packages enacted during the Trump administration.
The text of the legislation, regarding payments to individuals, reads, "For purposes of this section, the term ‘eligible individual’ means any individual other than – ‘‘(1) any nonresident alien individual ..."
The Internal Revenue Service defines a nonresident alien as "any individual who is not a U.S. citizen or U.S. national. A nonresident alien is an alien who has not passed the green card test or the substantial presence test."
Only noncitizens who have been authorized to work by the Department of Homeland Security can get a Social Security number, which is required to work and collect Social Security benefits, as well as other government services.
However, according to the Associated Press, some people who entered the U.S. on valid temporary working visas – which would have made them eligible for a Social Security number – may be eligible for the stimulus check, even if they overstayed their visas.
Julia Gelatt, a senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, told AP that "for the most part, no unauthorized immigrants will receive the $1,400 stimulus payments" because recipients must have valid Social Security numbers.
Dorothy Clark, a spokesperson for the Social Security Administration told CNN, "once a Social Security Number has been assigned to an eligible person, it remains a valid SSN. Social Security does not void or rescind SSNs after valid assignments."
It is unknown if the IRS will be issuing the stimulus payments to holders of Social Security numbers who are no longer authorized to work in the U.S.
Our rating: Partly false
The claim is PARTLY FALSE, based on our research. The overwhelming majority of immigrants who are not in the country legally will not be eligible for the $1,400 stimulus checks. Recipients must have Social Security numbers to receive the payment. However, some people who had valid temporary working visas – which make them eligible for Social Security numbers – may receive stimulus checks even if they overstayed those visas. The number of people that this may apply to is unknown.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Most immigrants in US illegally won't get stimulus checks