Storm Assistance for Illegal Aliens Spells Disaster for California Taxpayers
FAIR Take | June 2023
The hits to California taxpayers just keep on coming. According to Governor Gavin Newsom’s office, California taxpayers will be on the hook for $95 million which will go to illegal aliens who are not eligible for Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) monies for disaster relief from the heavy storms that hit the state in January and March of this year.
Beginning in June, the state Storm Assistance for Immigrants Project will provide up to $4,500 to affected illegal alien households for food, shelter, and basic needs. Under this program, each adult would be eligible for $1,500 and each child $500 – up to the maximum. The program will run until May 31, 2024, or until every cent of the $95 million has been distributed.
For illegal aliens to qualify for the Storm Assistance for Immigrants Project, they would have needed to experience “hardship” from the storms between December 2022 and April 2023. Additionally, they would have had to be living or working in counties that were federally designated major disaster areas and that were approved for individual assistance from FEMA.
According to federal statute, illegal aliens are ineligible to receive FEMA monies. Section 1611 of Title 8 says that a person who is not a qualified alien under 8 USC 1641 is ineligible for public benefits except for short-term, non-cash, in-kind emergency disaster relief. While 8 USC §1621 also generally bars states from providing public benefits to illegal aliens, it allows each jurisdiction to affirmatively authorize state and local benefits to illegal aliens, which California has done.
Illegal alien households will receive either a pre-loaded debit card or a check from a non-profit organization selected by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). These non-profit organizations will interview illegal aliens in person to allegedly ensure the claims aren’t fraudulent. While there are measures in place to guard against illegal aliens making fraudulent claims, it is unclear how the non-profits will be held accountable. According to CDSS’ website, the nonprofit organizations were selected based on the following criteria: 1) their ability and experience in serving the impacted “immigrant community”, 2) their experience delivering or administering “social services” to the “immigrant community”, and 3) their ability to provide “services” in the various languages needed by the “immigrant community”. There is no indication that these organizations will need to provide reporting nor is there anything delineated that restricts how much of the funding they receive can be used for administrative purposes.
At the same time, Governor Newsom’s administration doles out more benefits to illegal aliens, California officials are anticipating a $22.5 billion budget deficit due to an economic downturn. The $95 million to illegal aliens for the Storm Assistance for Immigrants Project is in addition to the $30.9 billion that Californians already pay annually subsidizing illegal alien education, criminal justice, health care, and other state benefits and administrative services. This means every California native-born household chips an average of $2,340 annually.
With California affirmatively authorizing benefits to illegal aliens, it is no surprise that over 3.2 million have been enticed to live in the Golden State.