SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A conservative organization is asking the California Supreme Court to block the state’s first-in-the-nation plan to give money to immigrants living in the country illegally who are hurt by the coronavirus.
The Center for American Liberty argued on behalf of two long-shot Republican legislative candidates that the $75 million plan is barred by state and federal law. The money is to be distributed through nonprofit groups, to protect recipients from providing personal information that might increase their danger of being deported.
The legal challenge argues that the plan is barred by the state Constitution’s prohibition on giving gifts to organizations outside of the state’s exclusive control.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the plan this month, saying the state will use a mix of taxpayer dollars and charitable contributions to give up to 150,000 adults $500 each. Households would be capped at $1,000.
“Ten percent of California’s workforce is undocumented. An overrepresentation of that workforce is undocumented in the areas that are so essential to meeting the needs of tens of millions of Californians today -- in the health care sector, in the agriculture and food sector, in the manufacturing and logistics sector, and in the construction sector,” Newsom said, adding undocumented immigrants paid over $2.5 billion in local and state taxes last year.
Taxpayers are paying $75 million while a group of charities have committed to raising $50 million. Some charities have already contributed $5.5 million.
Newsom added that undocumented immigrants living in the country are not eligible for federal stimulus checks or unemployment benefits.