On March 27, the CARES act was passed, providing money to citizens and small businesses to aid in the economic losses of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic.
While legal citizens across the country saw their checks come in, a large part of America’s workforce did not. Undocumented workers.
This is not a debate of deportation or rights of undocumented workers, it’s a question of whether or not we want to risk devastating damage to the economy.
Now more than ever, the total number of undocumented workers in America is an essential part of saving our economy. Without providing funds to those who contribute to America’s economy, that money is being taken from the country.
One of the biggest problems about undocumented workers is calculating how many there are.
A 2008 study conducted by The Perryman Group reported that there were approximately 8.1 million undocumented workers in America. Today, that number is assumed to be similar.
Due to social stigma and fear of deportation, most undocumented workers do not take part in the census or don’t include information regarding legal status in America. This leads to statistics that don’t represent reality.
The stimulus checks that the government is giving out are part of a 2 trillion dollar relief from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security act, or CARES Act. According to the bill, the CARES Act was passed “to provide emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families, and businesses affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.”
With America’s debt as high as it is, it seems questionable for the government to be shoveling out trillions of dollars to give everyone some extra money. The benefits of the stimulus checks reach beyond citizens receiving money. They are helping to prevent an economic depression, thanks to the concept of “helicopter money.”
Helicopter money is an experimental central bank stimulus tactic in which money is given to all the citizens of a country without any requirement to pay it back. This is done to prevent a chain reaction caused by people who are unable to spend money and contribute to the economy.
This is how the chain reaction works: if people can’t afford to spend money, then they cannot provide basic necessities like food or shelter for themselves. As a result, the people who provided that food and shelter lose a source of income.
For example, imagine someone can’t afford to pay their rent, leaving them without a home. The landlord has lost this source of income, so they stop spending money at their favorite restaurant. Eventually, the restaurant will not be making enough money to pay its staff or stay open. All of the restaurant’s employees will not be making money and won’t be able to afford their basic needs, expanding the reaction.
By getting funds, “helicopter money,” into the hands of the working class, this chain reaction can be slowed or stopped, making time for unemployment rates to drop and the economy to resume its upward trajectory.
Like the chain reaction illustrated, if a significant amount of the population is no longer contributing to the economy, America could go into a depression. If undocumented workers are not granted stimulus checks like those of documented workers the trillions of taxpayer dollars invested by the government will potentially be put to waste.