NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — They followed the rules and filed their taxes on time, but many U.S. citizens are not getting those desperately needed stimulus checks because of their spouse’s immigration status.

As millions of Americans cash in, others are entirely excluded.

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These U.S. citizens say they feel like second-class Americans, and it’s all because of who they married.


One Brooklyn resident, who doesn’t want to be named, is a U.S. Citizen. His husband from Mexico is pursuing legal status.

“The money aside, it’s still, it’s a humane thing. I just feel like damn, like, you know, just because I choose to marry this person who is here under the circumstances, I’m being penalized for it,” the man told CBS2’s Christina Fan.

He says he felt betrayed to find out from the IRS that Americans who file jointly with their spouses without Social Security Numbers are blocked from receiving any stimulus money.

“I work retail. My husband does construction and we don’t know when we’re going to go back to work,” he said.

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An estimated 8 million Americans live with undocumented family members.

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Halina Schiffman-Shilo is an immigration attorney and says there is little these people can do until there is a legislative fix.

“Right now, there’s no kind of tier of review that exists for people who aren’t receiving the bill,” she said.

“How and why were these Americans left off the bill?” Fan asked Congresswoman Grace Meng.

“Honestly, I don’t know the details,” Meng said.

Local congressional leaders tell us the framework for this package is based off the same language used during the 2008 financial crisis, where the same U.S. citizens were also omitted.

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Meng says solutions are being worked on.

“There has to be more action. Our job is far from done. If I, if I made the decision, we would be here tomorrow passing the next package,” she said.

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One of the solutions proposed is a House bill that would grant all taxpayers the cash. But families say that money would be coming too little too late.