Washington State Diverts COVID Funds to Illegal Aliens
FAIR Take | February 2024
A recent report from the Economic Policy Innovation Center (EPIC) revealed that the state of Washington diverted $340 million in federal COVID funds to illegal aliens. These funds, distributed as checks or prepaid cards ranging from $1,000 to over $3,000, were administered by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services to aliens ineligible for pandemic relief.
This revelation emerged three and a half years after Washington Governor Jay Inslee established the Immigrant Relief Fund (IRF) and the Food Production Paid Leave Program (FPPLP). These initiatives were financed by the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF), established under the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). In sum, Washington State was allocated $4.4 billion in federal funding through the ARPA.
Between October 2020 and May 2021, more than 120,000 illegal aliens received $1,000 each from the Immigrant Relief Fund. During those seven months, a staggering $127.6 million was distributed. In 2022, over 101,000 illegal aliens received payments of $3,075 each, totaling around $312.6 million. The majority of these funds were used by illegal aliens to cover rent and utility costs.
When created in August 2020, Governor Inslee’s office announced that the Immigrant Relief Fund would provide “$40 million to assist Washington residents who are unable to access federal stimulus programs due to their immigration status.” In April 2021, the Washington legislature authorized the distribution of $1,000 checks to immigrants irrespective of their legal status. In doing so, the Washington government used federal taxpayer dollars to subsidize illegal immigration under the guise of pandemic relief.
According to the EPIC report, “The $340 million project is categorized as a ‘cash transfer’ expenditure under the SLFRF, approved for the State of Washington. This means the Biden Administration directly subsidized ‘undocumented’ immigration under the guise of COVID-19 pandemic relief.”
Washington officials justified the funding as an opportunity “…to help people who may have been left out of other federal and state resources to address the economic impact of the pandemic.” Paul Winfree, the president and CEO of EPIC, emphasized the importance of preventing excess COVID funds from being used as cash assistance for illegal aliens, telling FOX News, “Until Congress claws back this money, it will continue to serve as a magnet for illegal immigration.” Winfree went on to say that “…the administration has been actively encouraging illegal immigration by using COVID money from the SLFRF to provide cash assistance, housing, legal aid, and other benefits to undocumented immigrants.”
EPIC’s report concluded that the Biden Administration not only funded but also incentivized illegal immigration through pandemic-related relief efforts. Washington allocated approximately $283,000 for advertisements targeting the immigrant community in languages such as Spanish, Chinese, Somali, and others. These advertisements proved effective, leading to thousands of applications targeting the relief fund.
Washington, however, isn’t the only entity diverting funds to support illegal immigrants. California Governor Gavin Newsom also allocated $75 million in taxpayer money, distributing $500 payments to 150,000 undocumented individuals. This move effectively drained California’s COVID relief funds, leaving a daunting deficit of over $20 billion. Similarly, Chicago Mayor Johnson utilized the city’s $95 million pandemic budget to offer financial aid, shelter, and rental assistance to illegal aliens. Chicago’s budget is depleting, as well, and the Windy City’s finances may soon resemble those of Newsom’s California.
The ironically named “American Rescue Act” has, in reality, achieved the opposite of its intended purpose. No Americans were truly rescued when the Biden Administration diverted pandemic funds to illegal aliens. The revelation that Washington diverted substantial federal COVID funds to illegal aliens raises serious concerns about the administration’s handling of pandemic relief in totality and underscores the larger issue of federal immigration policy enforcement and fiscal responsibility. The misuse of funds intended for pandemic relief not only undermines American citizens’ trust but also perpetuates a system that disadvantages lawful residents.
To view EPIC’s report, visit here.