Trump sued for denying checks to Americans married to immigrants

President Trump signs the coronavirus stimulus on March 27.
President Trump signs the coronavirus stimulus on March 27. Behind him are Steven T. Mnuchin, left, Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy and Vice President Mike Pence.
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

President Trump was sued over a provision of the coronavirus relief package that could deny $1,200 stimulus checks to more than 1 million Americans married to immigrants without Social Security numbers.

The suit was filed Friday by an Illinois man using the pseudonym John Doe, who seeks to represent all others in his position. Doe claims a carve-out in the relief package discriminates against him “based solely on whom he chose to marry.”

More than a million U.S. citizens have been blocked from receiving stimulus checks because their immigrant spouses don’t have Social Security numbers.

April 17, 2020

The $2-billion CAREES Act, approved by Congress last month, provides $1,200 payments to U.S. taxpayers who earn as much as $75,000 — plus $500 for each child. But to be eligible, both spouses in families that file joint tax returns must have Social Security numbers — unless one of them is a member of the military.


That leaves 1.2 million Americans ineligible, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Chicago. The lawsuit cites the Migration Policy Institute, which says on its website that’s how many “unauthorized” immigrants in the U.S. are married to Americans.

Iowa state Sen. Claire Celsi said on Twitter she’d been contacted by people who are affected.

Doe says he is married to an immigrant who pays taxes and files tax returns with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, which is issued by the Internal Revenue Service.

The suit names Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. The three authorized the exclusion and in doing so have failed to treat John Doe “as equal to his fellow United States citizens,” according to the lawsuit.