Reps. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), and 38 other members of Congress sent a letter to the White House on Monday encouraging the government not to send those $1,200 checks to illegal aliens.
As we have written from time to time, just insisting on a Social Security number (SSN) as a key to these checks is not a guarantee that the payments will not go to illegal aliens, as many of these aliens have secured an SSN illegally.
The congressmen expanded that argument by deftly identifying three other sets of circumstances that would allow illegal aliens to collect these benefits. They wrote:
Specifically, Section 6428(d) of the CARES Act states "nonresident aliens" are not "eligible individuals" to receive these rebates. However, in practice the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses the "substantial presence test" to determine residency for tax purposes. Under this IRS test, an individual is deemed a resident if he or she is physically present in the United States for at least 31 days during the current year and has been present for at least 183 days over the past three years. The IRS historically applies this test without regard to immigration status.
In addition, Section 6428(g) of the CARES Act requires an individual to have a Social Security Number (SSN) in order to receive the rebate. Unfortunately, nearly half of all individuals are present in the United States illegally after overstaying a visa that afforded them a work authorization and an SSN. Likewise, individuals who received employment authorizations and SSNs after filing an asylum application may still use their SSN after their application is denied.
While I might quibble about this phrase: "nearly half of all individuals are present in the United States illegally after overstaying a visa that afforded them a work authorization and an SSN" on the grounds that many visa overstayers (ex-tourists, for example) have overstayed without securing an SSN, it is good to know that some members of Congress are paying close attention to this issue.