Economic Stimulus Rebate Denied To Millions Of Legal Immigrants And US Troopsby Anurag Sharma
Economic stimulus package is out there. Credit entries have already started showing in bank accounts. People are happy. No, not all are happy. In fact, there is no reason to be happy for this discriminated lot. Lawmakers have penalized millions of legal U.S. residents on H1B and similar visas. Thousands of U.S. troops too are far from being benefitted from the stimulus package. These residents and citizens have been denied the rebate in spite of paying same taxes as other citizens.
Millions of tax payers have been excluded from being benefitted from the rebates because their spouses were denied a Social Security number. The largest section of this discriminated lot comprises of those on H1B visa mainly software engineers from India to make the US high tech industry competent and floating in the cut-throat global competition.
The dependents of the immigrant workers on H1B visa are not being allowed to get a social security number. They can have an ITIN (Income Tax Identification Number) as an alternative to enable them to file tax returns. If a married couple files jointly and one spouse doesn't have a Social Security number, the couple is denied from getting the $1,200 checks that other couples will receive. They're also ineligible for the $300 rebate per child.
The Armed Forces members who happen to be stationed overseas with foreign spouses without Social Security numbers are also excluded from getting a valid rebate check like other citizens. All this for serving a great nation and offering their lives for it.
The unfortunate situation developed when the Senate was forced to add the Social Security requirement to the economic stimulus bill on lobbying from anti-immigration groups. It seems fair if the federal government devises some way to help Armed Forces members. The same needs to be done for the H-1B visa holders and legal immigrants who are being denied rebates.
Some of these H1-H4/ITIN couples are already considering the route of discrimination based litigation. Here is an editorial from the New York Times on this issue.
© Anurag Sharma