Olympia, WA – Washington Governor Jay Inslee proudly announced that state taxpayers will dole out $40 million to assist illegal immigrants who are prohibited from accessing federal COVID-19 relief programs.
“COVID-19 doesn’t care what your immigration status is,” Inslee said in a news release on Aug. 10. “We have to ensure that no one in our state is left behind.”
The governor said that all Washingtonians are responsible for supporting “every family affected by the virus.”
“Immigrant workers are critical to communities throughout the state and are the backbone of our economy,” Inslee said. “While some have been hit by the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, others face safety risks as frontline workers. And even though immigrants in the United States pay billions of dollars in taxes, they do not receive the same support when a crisis occurs. This is one way to help rectify that situation.”
The governor further noted that he has been a strong supporter of “immigrant and refugee communities throughout his time in office.”
Rich Stolz, executive director of One America, an “immigrant rights group,” said that the $40 million Immigrant Relief Fund is a positive step for illegal immigrants who have been left out by the federal government, according to the news release.
“Immigrant community members are facing some of the worst outcomes of this pandemic and have been systematically excluded from a social safety net for too long,” Stolz declared. “A coalition of immigrant organizations came together to develop this fund that recognizes the dignity of our undocumented community members and works to get some relief to their families during this difficult time.”
Illegal immigrants illegally residing in Washington state can expect to receive $1,000 apiece, with payments beginning later this fall, Inslee’s office said.
There are currently believed to be somewhere between 229,000 and 271,000 illegal immigrants living within the state, The Epoch Times reported.
Inslee has been pushing the federal government to give states more stimulus money as Washington faces an $8.8 billion budget shortfall through 2023, according to the paper.
“Washington state taxpayers should be careful what they wish for, because this is the kind of thing that could incentivize even more poor illegal immigrants to move to Washington state,” Center for Immigrations Studies Executive Director Mark Krikorian told The Epoch Times.
“Why would you stop at COVID relief?” Krikorian asked. “Once people have been supported by the government, they’ve been essentially subsidized by taxpayers in the state, they’re going to want other subsidies, even when the virus emergency passes.”
Washington Dream Coalition organizer Paul Quinonez Figueroa said he and other advocates plan to push for more after the $40 million is gone, The Seattle Times reported.
“We kind of see it as a down payment,” he said.
A coalition of more than 400 social services groups and immigrant rights organizations complained that the fund is far less than the $100 million they’d demanded, The Spokesman-Review reported.
“Washington state has enjoyed a lot of the fruits of the labor of immigrants,” Latinos en Spokane founder Jennyfer Mesa told the paper. “The least we can do is keep them safe and provide some support.”
California and Oregon have also implemented plans to funnel taxpayer dollars to illegal immigrants, The Seattle Times reported.