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California Governor Planning Aid for Illegal Immigrants amid Coronavirus

California governor Gavin Newsom (Mike Blake/Reuters)

California Governor Gavin Newsom said Tuesday he is working on a plan with the state legislature to provide economic relief for California residents who are in the country illegally.

“Californians care deeply about undocumented residents in this state,” Newsom said.

About 2 million people in California are likely residing in the country illegally, according to the California Latino Legislative Caucus, which has asked the governor to provide cash assistance to those without citizenship status, since they are not eligible for the stimulus checks and other benefits provided in the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill passed by Congress.

The $30 billion the federal government is sending to about 14 million California households this month — $1,200 for each adult earning under $75,000 and $2,400 for couples making under $150,000 — will only be sent to U.S. citizens.

Newsom said that proposal is under consideration, as well as “some economic stimulus strategies at a state level, not just waiting for the federal government to do that for us.”

The plan will be released in May, the governor said.

Some state Republicans criticized the proposal, saying it raises budget issues.

“I see the state of California and its budget as a house of cards and with this coronavirus-induced recession, I’m just trying to figure out where the money would come from,” Republican state Senator John Moorlach, who represents part of Orange County, told the Associated Press. “I would say helping undocumented would be a luxury item.”

Other localities, such as Chicago, have introduced similar measures. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued an executive order Tuesday to ensure that illegal immigrants and refugees in the city are able to access the city’s coronavirus relief benefits.

Non-citizen residents of the city will be able to receive benefits through Chicago’s Housing Assistance Grant program, learning resources through Chicago public schools, and will have access to the $100 million Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund.

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