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Rep. Chellie Pingree cosponsors bill to send illegal immigrants $1,200 federal checks

Rep. Chellie Pingree (left) poses for a photo with Rep. Chloe Maxmin of Maine and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

WASHINGTON D.C. – Rep. Chellie Pingree, who represents Maine’s First Congressional District in the southern part of the state, has signed on to a proposal to give non-citizens, including some illegal immigrants, the same federal coronavirus relief checks that American citizens will receive.

The proposal, put forward by Rep. Lou Correa of California, would send $1,200 payments to non-citizens just as the CAREs Act will send payments to American taxpayers and seniors. In a statement, Correa called the failure to include non-citizens in the CAREs Act passed by Congress an “egregious error” that disqualified non-citizens and foreign nationals from receiving the payments.

In Rep. Correa’s joint statement announcing the bill with statements also from Rep. Judy Chu and Rep. Raúl Grijalva, Correa also lists the cosponsors of his bill, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep Ilhan Omar and Maine’s own Rep. Chellie Pingree.

The proposal, which can be viewed at this link, would use the TIN number of non-citizens to provide them funds matching the funds provided to American citizens who had filed tax returns or receive payments one of the several forms of social security.

In a tweet defending her sponsorship of the bill, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said the checks that were being sent to American citizens,will be cut off the backs of *taxpaying immigrants,* who get nothing.”

Opponents of the proposal argue that using an ITIN number to justify the payments in addition to the program that was already approved means that foreign nationals, illegal immigrants and others will then get the checks.

That is because the ITIN number is the number the IRS began issuing in 1996 to individuals who are not eligible for a social security number. Some advocates for illegal immigrants promote the use of an ITIN for immigrants who are unlawfully in the United States.

“The coronavirus doesn’t care about a person’s wealth, job, or immigration status. By casting out immigrants, we are placing some of our most vulnerable residents in grave danger. Every individual taxpayer, irrespective of citizenship status, needs government assistance now,” said Rep. Correa.

Rep. Pingree often finds herself on the same side as her colleagues Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Omar on legislation. Perhaps the most prominent example of their ideological alliance was Pingree’s support of the “Green New Deal” which was projected to cost tens of trillions of dollars and included goals such as eliminating air travel, overhauling every building in America and cracking down on cow flatulence, which supporters said are a major driver of carbon emissions.

With members of Congress currently home as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic it is unclear when they will return.

All four members of Maine’s Congressional delegation supported the bill signed by President Donald Trump that sends $1,200 payments to Americans who earn less than $75,000 as individuals or $150,000 as a couple. The package also provides $500 per child.

Senator Susan Collins has been hailed as the architect of the small business relief package in the CAREs Act which was already passed. That package will provide $350 billion in grants and loans to American small businesses to maintain payroll through the crisis.

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