California will be the first state to give money to immigrants living in the U.S. illegally as a stimulus check amid the pandemic to adults who were left out of the $2.2 trillion stimulus package approved by Congress, The New York Post reports.
On Wednesday, Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he would designate $75 million of taxpayer funds for $500 payments to 150,000 adult illegal immigrants who are suffering 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 the state’s workforce are immigrants living in the country illegally who paid more than $2.5 billion in state and local taxes last year, according to Newsom.
California has an estimated 2.2 million immigrants living in the country illegally, the most of any state, according to the Pew Research Center.
The state will give the money to a network of regional nonprofits to find and vet potential recipients.
California’s Republican state Senate Leader Shannon Grove slammed Newsom for the payout.
Grove said Newsom should spend the money instead on food banks, equipment for students to continue their education online and local governments struggling with revenue losses 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.