Letters to the Editor: Immigrant workers deserve a lot more than $600 stimulus checks

Boxes of food are packed by recently laid off restaurant workers at Second Harvest Food Bank in Irvine on April 1, 2020.
Boxes of food are packed by laid-off restaurant workers at Second Harvest Food Bank in Irvine on April 1.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Sending $600 checks to immigrant workers in California is a step in the right direction, but we can’t call it equity. It only accounts for a fraction of the federal relief that has systematically excluded immigrants and their families.

A household with two parents filing with tax ID numbers, or ITINs, and two children is now eligible for a maximum of $1,200 in stimulus relief, which accounts for only 21% of the $5,800 in federal relief that a family with Social Security numbers received. There are also still hundreds of thousands of frontline workers in California who do not have ITINs who are being left behind.

With a multibillion-dollar surplus, California could make meaningful change by increasing stimulus funding for immigrant tax filers to fully account for the gaps in federal relief, directing funding to immigrant workers who do not have an ITIN or Social Security number, and removing the exclusion of undocumented adults from Medi-Cal.


Sasha Feldstein, Los Angeles

The writer is economic justice policy manager at the California Immigrant Policy Center.