Coloradans in the U.S. illegally — and their citizen families — were denied coronavirus aid. Will the state step in? |

Coloradans in the U.S. illegally — and their citizen families — were denied coronavirus aid. Will the state step in?

Democratic lawmakers and advocates want to follow California’s lead and offer assistance regardless of citizenship status

Moe Clark, Colorado Sun
Alaina Silva poses for a portrait with her husband. The couple and their two kids were not included in the federal stimulus funds that were allocated in response to the coronavirus crisis because Silva's husband is living in the U.S. illegally. (Moe Clark, The Colorado Sun)

Alaina Silva met her husband in a crowded sushi restaurant in downtown Denver in 2011. He was the sushi chef behind the bar, wearing a black chef’s coat and apron that crisscrossed behind his back.

“I had just moved for work and I didn’t know anyone, so I decided to dine alone for the first time in my life,” she said. 

Now married, the couple lives on a quiet cul de sac in Westminster with their sons, age 1 and 3. They own a sushi restaurant in downtown Denver, and Silva works as a finance director for a real estate development company. Unlike many Coloradans, they won’t be getting federal coronavirus-related aid because Silva’s husband is living in the U.S. unlawfully.

A clause in the $2 trillion federal stimulus package signed by President Donald Trump on March 27, called the CARES Act, prevents an estimated 11.3 million people living in the country unlawfully – including families of mixed-citizenship status, like the Silva’s – from receiving payments meant to help families weather the economic storm spurred by the coronavirus crisis. 

“My husband has paid taxes the entire time that he’s been here,” Silva said. “So on one level, it’s unjust that he would be left out of the public funds. But it’s a whole other ballpark that me and my two sons, who are all citizens, aren’t included in the stimulus.”

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