Immigrant community sees financial desperation with no stimulus check eligibility
ELKHART, Ind. – It’s a controversy more than tens of thousands of immigrants in Michiana, mostly Latinx, might be bearing the brunt of: paying usual taxes, yet not being eligible for any of the $1,200 federal stimulus checks.
At Iglesia Bautista El Refugio, a Hispanic church in Elkhart, Lisa Collío said she has seen the amount of families arriving for food and monetary aids soar.
“The first week it took about three days to be able to give out the food; there really wasn’t that much need,” Collío said.
“And then every week it’s been running out faster. Last week it didn’t even last an hour.”
The Elkhart church leader describes economic and food insecurity for many immigrant families without full documentation who are put at a disadvantage amid the pandemic.
Since the shutdowns of non-essential businesses with high proportions of Latinx workers (factories, restaurants, and farms), many have lost income.
“In the long run, who are the people that are going to be left destitute? That’s going to be the people that are not allowed to obtain these benefits,” South Bend-based immigration attorney Cecilia Monterrosa said.
“And we live with these people. Undocumented workers and their mixed status families are our neighbors and our friends, whether you know it or not.”
A few states like California have already introduced mixed private and public funding to cover immigrant families without sufficient documentation, something Monterrosa said should happen for a smaller population like Indiana’s as well.
“I think it’s being fiscally responsible and recognizing that these undocumented workers are what we described earlier,” Monterrosa said.
”They’re paying into insurance, they are paying taxes. It’s called a stimulus check for a reason. It’s to stimulate the economy.”
ABC 57 reached out to U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Walorski’s staff to provide insight on the issue Thursday morning - but never received a response.
Collio said her church in Elkhart is still accepting tax-deductible food and monetary donations from the community.