Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA), with his state legislature’s assistance, has revealed that California’s two-plus million illegal immigrants may apply for the state’s coronavirus relief program.
Residents in California illegally are now eligible to receive $500 per individual and up to $1,000 per household.
The Democratic supermajority in Sacramento has allocated $75 million in taxpayer monies for the fund, enough to help about 150,000 people. Observers expect the fund to dry up quickly, although elected officials are hopeful that donations will extend the program’s reach.
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While Republicans and independents have lambasted the measure for not being directed at U.S. citizens, undocumented workers’ responses have been equally overwhelming. A massive traffic spike caused California’s coronavirus disaster relief website to crash yesterday.
Yet for liberal activists, Newsom’s announcement doesn’t go far enough.
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Kim Ouillette, attorney and fellow with Legal Aid at Work, told the paper that the state should “step in and do something more significant” because the funds will only cover a percentage of the immigrants in the state illegally. Applications will be accepted until June 30 or until funds run dry.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in April that he would spend $75 million of taxpayer money to create a Disaster Relief Fund for immigrants living in the country illegally.
He was criticized by some Republicans in the state. Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove said at the time that Newsom should spend the money instead on food banks, equipment for students to continue their education online and local governments struggling with revenue losses.
“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, who represents Bakersfield.