Senator Dick Durbin offered a rebuke to Senator Ted Cruz over who would get $1,400 stimulus checks.
They would go to "every illegal alien in America," Cruz said.
"The statement of the senator from Texas is just plain false," Durbin said
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Senator Dick Durbin on Saturday offered a searing rebuttal to claims made by Senator Ted Cruz about undocumented immigrants getting stimulus checks, as part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.
Cruz on Saturday morning had proposed an amendment to the bill, seeking to block some $1,400 stimulus checks that he said would be sent to "every illegal alien in America."
"The statement of the senator from Texas is: Just. Plain. False," Durbin said on the Senate floor.
Durbin said: "Let me be clear, undocumented immigrants do not have social security numbers, and they do not qualify for stimulus relief checks, period. And just in case you didn't notice, they didn't qualify in December, when 92 of us voted for that measure."
Durbin was referencing the $900 billion stimulus package approved by the Senate in December then signed by President Donald Trump.
He added: "Nothing has changed."
As Durbin spoke, Cruz interrupted, asking if Durbin would allow him to ask a question.
"No, I won't," Durbin said, spinning around to address Cruz. "It is not true, and we know what's going on here. They want to be able to give speeches that say the checks go to undocumented people."
The amendment didn't make it into the bill, which the Senate approved in a party-line vote later on Saturday.
Speaking in favor of his amendment, Cruz said: "The question for the American people to answer is, should your money, should taxpayer money, be sent, $1,400, to every illegal alien in America? This amendment provides that it should not."
The Senate Judiciary Committee said later on Saturday that Cruz's amendment would have blocked checks from being sent to undocumented parents of about two million children who are US citizens. About 350,000 of those children live in Texas, which Cruz represents, the committee said on Twitter.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Durbin said Cruz had been trying to "rile people up over something that's not true."
He added: "Sen. Cruz's claim is only meant to rile people up over something that's not true. You cannot receive a stimulus check without a Social Security #. That's a fact. Instead of discriminating against mixed-status families, let's prioritize getting more relief to more families."