California will be the first state to send money to illegal immigrants who did not qualify for assistance under the $2.2 trillion federal coronavirus stimulus package passed last month.
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday announced the allocation of $75 million in taxpayer funds for $500 payments to 150,000 adult immigrants who are reeling from the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We feel a deep sense of gratitude for people that are in fear of deportations that are still addressing essential needs of tens of millions of Californians,” said Newsom.
Ten percent of California’s workforce consists of immigrants living in the country illegally according to Newsom. The state’s illegal immigrants paid over $2.5 billion in state and local taxes last year, the governor added.
The state government will send the money to a coalition of regional non-profits, who will in turn vet potential recipients and disperse the money to those who qualify.
Republican state Senate Leader Shannon Grove slams California Gov. Gavin Newsom for the payout.
Grove said the funds should be spent on food banks, education and local governments suffering revenue shortfalls amid the pandemic.
“Instead of meeting these urgent needs, Governor Newsom has chosen to irresponsibly pursue a left-wing path and unilaterally secured $125 million for undocumented immigrants,” said Grove.
California, as of Wednesday, has more than 26,600 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 850 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.