ALBUQUERQUE — With Tax Day approaching, a group of advocacy organizations wants to get the word out that families who did not file tax returns in 2019 or 2020 must file their current tax returns by Monday, May 17, in order to receive a pandemic stimulus check.
In addition, the groups want to let families whose members are a mix of citizens and immigrants – so-called mixed-status families – that the eligibility rules for them have changed. This round of stimulus checks, which are part of the American Rescue Plan signed by President Biden in March, is available to dependents who have a valid Social Security number regardless of whether their parents have them.
Previous stimulus checks have required at least one parent to have a Social Security number in order to receive assistance for their U.S.-citizen children.
“The first two stimulus checks left out tens of thousands of U.S.-born New Mexico children because their working parents did not have a Social Security number,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children. “Many of these kids were as much in need of assistance as their neighbors but they were excluded. We’re pleased the Biden Administration has corrected that.”
Several immigrant-rights advocates also praised the change. “Hard-working families all across the state have been impacted by the pandemic and the recession it caused,” Marian Méndez Cera said, a workers’ justice organizer at El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos. “Getting assistance to mixed-status families not only helps those families get by, but this funding also positively impacts the local economy as they spend this money in their communities on groceries and other necessities.”
“Everyone who lives and works in New Mexico pays taxes and that includes hard-working immigrants,” Marcela Díaz said, executive director of Somos un Pueblo Unido. “Immigrants are essential workers, but most don’t qualify for any of the government programs and economic relief their taxes support. At the very least, their New Mexico-born children deserve help, especially during a crisis a dire as this pandemic.”
The current stimulus checks are worth up to $1,400 for each eligible adult and each dependent. More information about eligibility is available here.