Illegal Aliens Receive Funds, Legal Residents Suffer



California is not the only state that has decided to give so-called “stimulus funds” to those here illegally, it is just the largest.  Both Oregon and Washington have also provided taxpayer money to illegal aliens. Now, some states with large numbers of open borders legislators, like Massachusetts and New Jersey, may go even further in their efforts to provide for illegal aliens.

In Oregon, the Joint Emergency Board, a statutory legislative committee comprised of members of both houses of the Oregon legislature, approved more than $32 million along mostly partisan lines, to help businesses, workers and renters during the Coronavirus pandemic.  Ten million dollars will be used to create a wage replacement fund for illegal aliens who do not qualify for other types of federal aid.  This fund is expected to help approximately 15,000 aliens who could get up to $595 per week.

After the Joint Emergency Board “took actions to help Oregonians get through the Coronavirus crisis,” Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) claimed, “we have all been hit hard by this pandemic.  We are all in this together.” Yet, while the Joint Emergency Board gave money to those illegally in the country, it deferred a decision to create a $50 million fund that would provide no-interest loans to rural hospitals. Many of these hospitals are facing economic hardships – they are spending money on equipment to deal with the pandemic while their revenues have decreased as a result of the cancellation of their elective surgical procedures, the hospitals’ bread and butter. 

In Washington, the Department of Social and Health Services will allow Coronavirus relief funding to go to illegal aliens.  Individuals who are not eligible for other programs can apply for Disaster Cash and receive a one-time payment between $383 and $1,121. 

The state appears more concerned about providing assistance to illegal aliens than taking care of veterans who fought for the United States.  In a Spokane Veterans’ Home, nearly half of the residents tested positive for COVID-19. This comes as no real surprise considering a recent FAIR study found veterans continue to struggle with unmet healthcare needs. Yet Washington shows preferential treatment for its illegal aliens over its veterans.

Despite providing funding for illegal aliens at the expense of the state’s veterans, it seems that Governor Jay Inslee (D) has not done enough.  Recently 435 organizations and immigrant rights leaders asked Governor Inslee to create a $100 million Washington Worker Relief Fund for illegal aliens who cannot receive federal assistance.

Not to be outdone by California, the Massachusetts legislature has introduced legislation to provide stimulus funds to illegal aliens that goes beyond California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order.  Senate Bill (SB) 2659 and House Docket (HD) 5036 would give illegal alien families that filed either 2018 or 2019 state tax returns using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) $1,200 per adult and $500 per child.

While the legislature is considering giving illegal aliens so-called “stimulus funds,” roughly 950,000 residents in the Bay State have filed unemployment since March 15.  Amid this avalanche of filings, the state’s unemployment fund,  according to U.S. Treasury data,  had $748 million as of April 16 – enough to cover only about two weeks of unemployment benefits.

Likewise, in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy (D) had been pushing the legislature to provide so-called “stimulus funds” for illegal aliens, giving illegal aliens $600 per week.  Senators Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark) and Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden) heeded his call and introduced a bill that would provide approximately $35 million in direct cash assistance to about 500,000 illegal aliens. This would be on top of the $4.5 billion New Jersey taxpayers currently pay annually according to FAIR’s 2017 Cost Study. With nearly 140,000 COVID-19 cases, second only to New York state, Governor Murphy and the New Jersey Legislature’s priority should be focused on the health of those living in New Jersey and not pandering to those in the country illegally.

Additionally, both Connecticut and Colorado may also consider giving illegal aliens taxpayer funds.  In Connecticut, 47 legislators, including the Senate President Pro Tempore, recently sent a letter to Governor Ned Lamont (D) asking him to create a Coronavirus disaster assistance fund similar to California.

Connecticut had already been facing a budget crunch even before the pandemic. Now, it is anticipated the state will have a $934 million deficit this year and be in the hole $2.3 billion for the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2020.  At a time when the state will deplete its entire “rainy day” fund and likely require hundreds of millions of dollars in spending cuts and millions in new taxes, the state’s focus should be to help Connecticut citizens and legal residents who are suffering and not to provide “stimulus funds” for illegal aliens. 

In Colorado, there are several legislators who are planning to introduce bills when the session reconvenes on May 18 that would provide Coronavirus benefits to illegal aliens. Senator Julie Gonzales (D-Denver) wants to provide all Coloradans aid “regardless of their immigration status.”

While all Americans acknowledge the humanitarian crisis ignited by the Coronavirus, they also recognize that resources are finite.  According to a recent “Just the News” poll, only 22 percent of Americans agree with giving illegal aliens stimulus cash.

It is time for politicians to focus on legislation and policies that put American citizens and legal immigrants first. 

About Author

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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.

FAIR blogs can now be found on our main site at https://www.fairus.org/blog