• The topic of illegal immigration has found its way into the discussion around whether or not congressional lawmakers should authorize new coronavirus stimulus payments for Americans still financial reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A massive new stimulus package, the HEROES Act, was passed by the House last week and includes money for stimulus checks that would go to immigrants, regardless of their legal status.
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Following up on our article from yesterday, more indications continue to surface that Republicans aren’t inclined to want to pursue a new round of stimulus checks for Americans hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic anytime soon.

One major sticking point keeping this from happening is something you might not have expected: Immigration. The HEROES Act, a massive new coronavirus relief package which the US House of Representatives passed last Friday, would make a new round of direct stimulus payments available to immigrants who pay taxes, along with their families, regardless of their legal status. As we noted yesterday, Republicans were already hesitant about another multi-trillion-dollar coronavirus package, but the provision of funds for illegal immigrants has made the chasm between both sides even wider.

“Nancy Pelosi basically lost me with that package when she has $1,200 checks for illegal immigrants,” White House economic advisor Peter Navarro said on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos. And it “just goes downhill from there.” As Navarro sees it, it would be better to “keep going with the (current) fiscal and monetary policy” that has resulted in billions of dollars “coursing through the system right now.”

The HEROES Act is likely to go nowhere in the Republican-controlled Senate for now, which doesn’t seem inclined to want to rush new direct payments out the door even though Democrats point to byproducts of the coronavirus pandemic, like the 36 million Americans who are now jobless. Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell has also said that more stimulus action from lawmakers, even if it comes with a huge price tag, would be “worth it if it helps avoid long-term economic damage.”

Among the provisions of the HEROES Act, it provides $200 billion to give hazard pay to essential workers and $75 billion for COVID-19 testing. As noted, there’s also money set aside to give most Americans a new round of coronavirus stimulus checks, with the amounts totaling $1,200 for individuals and up to $6,000 for households. This comes as the IRS and the US Treasury Dept. have shifted things up a bit in their continued disbursement of the initial round of stimulus checks that have been sent out in waves for more than a month now.

The Treasury Dept. announced on Monday that it’s sending out some 4 million payments this week in the form of prepaid debit cards instead of paper checks, the benefit being that debit cards are ready to use immediately and don’t have to be deposited into a bank account.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.