Californians Fighting Governor’s Cash Handouts to Illegal Aliens

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) has no difficulty providing taxpayer monies to those living illegally in his state. He recently announced that 150,000 illegal aliens, who did not receive federal stimulus funds, would receive a $125 million aid package, with $75 million coming from California taxpayers. In the press release touting his relief plan, he said, “our undocumented neighbors and friends should know California is here to support them during this crisis.”

While everyone in the Golden State understands the struggles the coronavirus pandemic is causing, not all Californians want illegal aliens to be given taxpayer funds that they are clearly not eligible to receive.  On April 22, 2020, the Center for American Liberty and the Dhillon Law Group, on behalf of petitioners Ricardo Benitez and Jessica Martinez, filed an emergency petition for a writ of mandate with the California Supreme Court asking the Court to immediately stop the $75 million appropriation to illegal aliens.  The writ alleges that Governor Newsom’s order to provide taxpayer monies to illegal aliens violates the California constitution and federal law because illegal aliens are ineligible for unemployment benefits.

In the writ against Governor Newsom, petitioner Ricardo Benitez says that while he is “concerned with the health and welfare of all California residents” he believes “the Governor must follow the Constitution, state, and federal law even in a state of emergency.”

Petitioner Jessica Martinez, Whittier Councilmember, said she doesn’t believe Governor Newsom should “expend COVID-19 emergency funds to give unemployment benefits to those not entitled to receive them.”  She also expressed uneasiness with the non-profit organizations that will be receiving the taxpayer funds to distribute to the illegal aliens keeping up to 40 percent of the funds for administrative costs.

Unsurprisingly, the Ms. Martinez’s action was met with protests outside her home.  The protesters claimed the Center for American Liberty is “supported by the ultraconservative and reactionary Koch brothers.”  Ironically, the Koch brothers support open borders just like those protesting Councilmember Martinez.  According to Charles Koch, “We have to have an open society – open to ideas, people, goods and services – to learn from each other and have us all benefit.”

However, a majority of likely voters appear to agree with the Mr. Benitez and Ms. Martinez that illegal aliens should not be given cash payments, according to a new Rasmussen poll. The poll found that 72 percent of Republicans and 53 percent of Independents oppose cash payments to illegal aliens, while 57 percent of Democrats support it.  Additionally, the poll found 58 percent of all voters want anyone who receives federal, state, or local government services to be required to prove they are legally allowed to be in the United States.

This poll shows that voters recognize public resources and funds are not limitless and must be prioritized to serve citizens and those who have followed the law to enter the United States. Californians have been crushed by unemployment, housing issues and business closures.  More than 3 million of the state’s legal residents have filed for unemployment benefits since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

As FAIR noted last week, “the U.S. Department of Labor reported the State’s unemployment fund has fallen below the recommended solvency levels.” Instead of providing “stimulus funds for illegal aliens” the Governor and State Legislature should refocus their attention to provide assistance to citizens and those legally in California.

The California Supreme Court has ordered Governor Newsom to respond to the emergency writ by April 28.

About Author


Shari Rendall brings to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) over 15 years of experience in government relations and grassroots advocacy. In her former position, Shari led the legislation department in coordinating lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill and briefing congressional and administration staff on a wide range of issues. She has also been responsible for grassroots communications and helping state associations devise their legislative strategies. She began her time in D.C. working on Capitol Hill in the office of former Sen. Bob Smith (R-New Hampshire) as a Legislative Aide.

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