Reps. Kenyatta, Burgos and Fiedler urge Congress to include undocumented workers in any COVID-19 response legislation

HARRISBURG, April 17 – State Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, Danilo Burgos and Elizabeth Fiedler, all D-Phila., introduced a resolution urging Congress to also acknowledge the roughly 10 million undocumented workers in any COVID-19 financial response legislation.

The resolution comes as the federal government issues portions of the historic $2 trillion financial assistance package to individuals and businesses to help mitigate the adverse economic impacts resulting from the pandemic.

“There are roughly over 10 million undocumented people living in America paying billions of dollars in state and federal taxes yearly, yet many will never benefit from the services they constantly contribute to,” said Kenyatta, who represents the 181st Legislative District. “In this time of desperation, our government should not be complicit in watching this vulnerable population that has time and again proven themselves to be a pillar of America’s economy continue to suffer.”

Burgos, representing the 197th District, concurred with Kenyatta saying, “Undocumented immigrants consistently pay about 8 percent of their income in taxes, a sizeable percentage for many who are relegated to working low-paying jobs with no benefits. These workers produce many of the essential goods we heavily rely on, even more so during this pandemic, yet they receive nothing for their labor.”

Adding to Burgos’ assertion, Fiedler, who represents the 184th District, said, “This stimulus money comes from public tax dollars, which means it’s the people’s money. Immigrants, regardless of immigration status, are just as deserving of receiving this financial support as anyone else. Congress must act to ensure the undocumented people in our communities are included in federal relief efforts as well.”

The trio of legislators pointed to the most recent IRS report indicating that in 2015 the agency received 4.4 million income tax returns from workers who do not have Social Security numbers, which includes many undocumented residents. In that same year, according to the report, they paid $23.6 billion in income taxes -- a figure that doesn’t include undocumented filers commonly using fake Social Security numbers on their W-2 forms.