Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced last week that the state will provide $40 million in coronavirus relief for illegal immigrants, who were excluded from the federal government’s coronavirus relief programs, such as the CARES Act.
The issue of states paying illegal immigrants and then seeking reimbursement from the federal government for their financial insolvency has become a major sticking point in the negotiations for another stimulus bill.
Illegal immigrants who submit individual applications could receive up to $1,000 if approved, and families are eligible for up to $3,000, according to Inslee.
“COVID-19 doesn’t care what your immigration status is,” Inslee said.
“We must support every family affected by the virus, especially those who lack the necessary means to quarantine or isolate and prevent further spread,” he continued. “This is the right thing for the well-being of individuals, the health of their colleagues and the safety of our communities.”
Inslee went on to say that illegal workers “are the backbone of our economy,” and claimed that because illegal immigrants pay taxes, they should receive government-subsidized benefits as well.
California passed a similar resolution in May to send $75 million in taxpayer funds to illegal immigrants. But the conservative legal watchdog Judicial Watch sued to stop the illicit welfare payments, arguing that illegal aliens are ineligible for state and federal public assistance benefits due to their unlawful presence in the U.S., according to federal law.
The lawsuit alleges Gov. Gavin Newsom overstepped his authority by creating a taxpayer-funded entitlement program through an executive action.
Only state legislatures can create welfare programs through the normal legislative process, according to federal law.
“Governor Newsom has no legal authority on his own to spend state taxpayer money for cash payments to illegal aliens,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement.
The state of Oregon has also been sending $10 million in taxpayer funds to illegal immigrants through its Oregon Worker Relief Fund.