Washington State diverts $340 million in federal COVID funds to provide $1,000 checks for immigrants

Three and a half years ago, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee introduced two funds – the Immigrant Relief Fund and the Food Production Paid Leave Program – with the intention of supporting workers during the COVID-19 crisis. However, a recent report has shed light on how these federal pandemic funds were distributed to undocumented immigrants who were ineligible, in the form of $1,000 checks.

According to a report by the Economic Policy Innovation Center, the checks were derived from $340 million in funding allocated to Washington through the federal American Rescue Plan Act. This funding was specifically intended to assist state and local governments in their efforts to respond to and recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

The ARPA provided Washington with a total funding of $4.4 billion.

In a news release from 2020, Inslee’s office announced that the Immigrant Relief Fund will offer $40 million to support Washington residents who cannot access federal stimulus programs because of their immigration status.

“We must guarantee that every person in our state receives support as we combat this pandemic, as COVID-19 is impartial to one’s immigration status. It is essential for the welfare of individuals, the health of their peers, and the safety of our communities.”

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services was tasked with overseeing the distribution of the funds. They announced that each eligible individual would receive $1,000, beginning in the fall of 2020.

In April 2021, the Legislature passed a bill that authorized the distribution of checks to immigrants, regardless of their legal status.

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The EPIC report reveals that the Biden administration provided direct subsidies for undocumented immigration, using the COVID-19 pandemic relief as a cover.

Amid ongoing worries about the influx of undocumented immigrants into the United States, particularly at the southern border, a report has been released. This development coincides with the Senate’s discussions on a proposed measure aimed at curbing illegal border crossings.

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