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Undocumented immigrants across U.S. face unemployment challenges during pandemic

Posted at 2:56 PM, Dec 01, 2020

Millions of Americans received a boost of cash from the CARES Act this year and are hoping for more help from Congress. However, more people who work and pay taxes never received aid the first time. While many in the United States disagree with providing public assistance to workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, some states offer monetary support.

Damariz Posadas says she’s passionate about learning and working hard to reach her goals. She’s a graduate student at Boston University. But recently, paying for school has become her hardest test.

“I was on what you call a ramen diet,” Posadas said. “I bought ramen and eggs and prayed for the best.”

The Mexican immigrant lost her full-time job in August, but in September, she found a part-time job that provided just enough to stay afloat. She not only has a full course load but also cares for her younger sister.

‘’I’m working 20 hours a week, trying to support a child, trying to go to school, trying to pay bills, trying to make rent on time,” said Posadas.

The challenges do not end there. Posadas is undocumented, and because of this, she cannot apply for public assistance. However, she does pay taxes with an individual taxpayer identification number, also known as I-TIN, that was assigned by the Internal Revenue Service.

Massachusetts has not passed legislation to provide public assistance to undocumented immigrants, but other states have.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, California offered a one-time, state-funded disaster relief assistance to undocumented immigrants who did not qualify for unemployment or money from the CARES Act.

States like Washington and Illinois have already allocated millions to provide pandemic-related emergency assistance to immigrants who are undocumented and unemployed.