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#ShareYourCheck: Raleigh, Durham leaders encourage donating stimulus checks to immigrant taxpayers

Posted April 20, 2020 12:13 p.m. EDT
Updated April 21, 2020 3:57 a.m. EDT

A group of elected officials from Raleigh and Durham are encouraging the public to donate a portion of their stimulus checks to help immigrants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group includes Durham Mayor Steve Schewel and six councilmembers.

Called the #ShareYourCheck Challenge, the group is encouraging people who received stimulus payments to contribute part or all of their checks, if they can, to a new COVID-19 Immigrant Solidarity Fund, which helps undocumented families who can not receive federal stimulus checks despite being taxpayers.

At least 157 taxpayers in North Carolina, including dozens in the Triangle, have said they will take part.

The #ShareYourCheck Challenge was created by Siembra NC, which works to assist families impacted by immigration detentions.

Undocumented taxpayers are not eligible for stimulus checks, and neither are U.S. citizens who are married to undocumented immigrants and file jointly with their spouses. In 2018, undocumented taxpayers in North Carolina paid an estimated $639 million in state and federal taxes, according to a press release.

The #ShareYourCheck campaign launched Saturday, with 219 donors raising $13,063 during a 12-hour Facebook Live. Among the donors were younger immigrant members of Siembra NC who already pledged their stimulus checks. The telethon benefited the #ShareYourCheck Challenge and seven Raleigh immigrant women whose husbands have been detained by ICE since January.

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Raleigh councilmembers taking the pledge include Saige Martin and Nicole Stewart. Participating Durham councilmembers include Mark-Anthony Middleton, Charlie Reece, Jillian Johnson and Javiera Caballero.

Durham County Commission Chair Wendy Jacobs and Durham County Commissioner Heidi Carter have also taken the pledge.

Martin, who was elected to serve District D on the Raleigh City Council in 2019, wrote, "Moments like this define who will rise and who is left behind. As Federal programs struggle to reach those that qualify, it’s clear to me that we must give back to those who are the backbone of this country, yet, too often do not qualify for aid."

Donations can be made at tiny.cc/covidrelief.

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