The state is planning to send Covid-19 stimulus checks to Vermonters who didn’t receive federal payments earlier in 2020 because of their immigration status. Governor Phil Scott signed the state budget that included $5 million to send checks for $1200 to undocumented adults and $500 to their children by early April. The Vermont Community Foundation, a non-governmental organization, will administer the fund and send out the checks.
About 500 citizens and legal permanent residents who file taxes jointly with undocumented spouses are eligible to receive the money. And up to 500 other immigrants without social security numbers but with “lawful” immigration status such as visa holders and asylum seekers could also receive the money.
One of the major goals was to make sure Vermont’s undocumented residents felt safe receiving the money in an environment where distrust of the state and fear of harassment or deportment is widespread. Will Lambek, spokesperson for Migrant Justice, said that having the Vermont Community Foundation distribute the money as a third party means that the beneficiaries won’t be interacting directly with the state, nor will the state be getting people’s personal information.
Even though Vermont’s undocumented immigrants won’t receive the Covid-19 stimulus funds until a year after other residents, the money will help support them through the remaining time of the pandemic and will contribute to the larger economic recovery of the state.