Courts Are Knotted Up On COVID Cash For Illegal Aliens
The verdict on providing COVID relief funds to illegal aliens is tied 1-1 in the courts, for now.
A U.S. district court in Maryland last week ruled that a Montgomery County program to provide $10 million in cash payments to illegal aliens likely violates federal law and irreparably harms county taxpayers.
The watchdog group Judicial Watch sued the county, arguing that the Emergency Assistance Relief Payment Program (EARP) was illegal, in part because the Maryland Legislature had not authorized localities to provide benefits to unlawfully present aliens.
The court tentatively agreed, ruling that, “Based on an analysis of the federal statute alone, the court concludes that plaintiffs have demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the merits.”
The court, however, denied a request for a temporary restraining order. Instead, it directed the county to retain at least 25 percent of any unspent funds until the court could fully consider the case.
Judicial Watch hailed the court for “pushing back on the abuse by county officials who want to send taxpayer coronavirus money to illegal aliens in violation of federal law.” Montgomery County is a longtime sanctuary jurisdiction.
Earlier, the California Supreme Court summarily rejected a challenge to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s allocation of $75 million to illegal aliens affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
As in the Maryland case, opponents argued that the funds had not been authorized by the Legislature, and violated federal law. California’s high court dismissed the lawsuit in a brief order without explanation. Evidently, it bought Newsom’s line that his program was “legally justified and morally necessary.”
(Side note: While the justices didn’t do anything to slow the governor, the state’s online enrollment system crashed under a crush of applicants on the first day. It’s back up now, and California’s $54.3 billion budget shortfall goes a few million dollars deeper.)
Spending COVID relief dollars on illegal aliens doesn’t go over well with the American public. Last week, FAIR reported that a McLaughlin survey found 72 percent of respondents opposed such disbursements. Even 53 percent of voters who identified themselves as “liberal” disapproved.
Undaunted, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives voted last month to provide billions in emergency aid to illegal aliens through the HEROES Act. But there’s virtually no chance such a package will survive in the Republican Senate, where GOP leaders declared it “dead on arrival.”
So, as usual, it’s back to the courts.