Married mixed-status families seek answers after not being eligible for a stimulus check

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MILWAUKEE, WI (CBS 58) – Not every U.S. citizen will be receiving a stimulus check, and for Guadalupe Diaz, it’s because of her husband’s immigration status.

In the more than 800 pages of the stimulus bill, it is stated that mixed-status families will be ineligible for a stimulus check.

In 2018, Diaz filed jointly with her husband, who has an ITIN number, and her social security number.

An ITIN number is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service for people without a social security number to file a federal tax return.

“We are U.S. citizens and it’s like we’re being discriminated against because of who we fell in love with and who we married,” says Diaz.

Diaz is referring to the millions of families who just like her, are not receiving a stimulus check because their spouse is in the process of obtaining residential status.

“Here we are doing the right thing,” says Diaz. “Filing for residency, waiting for residency, doing taxes every year, and for doing the right thing it’s like we’re being punished.”

This is a similar scenario being seen with 15-million people in this county and about 115,000 in Wisconsin who immigration attorneys say were blindsided by this.

“My biggest piece of advice is to reach out to groups that advocate for their rights,” says Melissa Soberalski, an immigration attorney in Milwaukee. “Speak to an immigration attorney, maybe there is form of relief that they haven’t sought yet. My third piece of advice is to talk to tax experts.”

Soberalski says other examples she’s seen are undocumented parents with children born in the U.S. also being denied a stimulus check.

Diaz is a part of the Facebook group Mixed-Status Families United that was created last Wednesday when families who were expecting a stimulus check never saw one.

This is also a place where families can connect with attorneys and resources to see if they have any other options.

“At this point, it’s not even about me,” says Diaz. “It’s about other people that have children who are being denied their rights and they’re being denied basic needs like food.”

Community groups say they’re actively looking for solutions and looking into potential lawsuits for what they're calling discrimination against U.S. citizens.

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