As Title 42 expires, this bankrupt state is considering unemployment for illegal immigrants
A California bill that would grant unemployment benefits to illegal immigrants is scheduled for review this week as the Golden State prepares for an influx of migrants following the expiration of Title 42.
SB 227, or the Safety Net for All Workers Act, would provide US$300 a week for up to 20 weeks to released illegal immigrants from the Treasury. In March, the Los Angeles Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution supporting the statewide bill.
“We can’t take people’s money, take people’s taxes, take people’s jobs, and then deny them the very benefits and rights that they deserve and that they deserve,” Supervisor Shamann Walton said at a protest rally ahead of the board meeting.
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According to the Safety Net for All Coalition, a group of more than 120 organizations across California working to expand welfare programs, payroll taxes on illegal immigrants contribute $485 million annually to the state’s unemployment insurance system for undocumented workers. The weekly inspections plus administrative costs in the proposed law will cost an estimated $356 million in federal funds.
“Every day, undocumented immigrants contribute to California’s economic prosperity in agriculture, construction, apparel and other industries,” said the bill’s sponsor, State Senator María Elena Durazo. “Yet, immigrants continue to be excluded from California’s economic success due to unjustified exclusions from the safety net.”
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On Thursday, the Senate Budget Committee will review bills costing the state more than $50,000, including SB 227, and either submit a bill to the plenary or bench it.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a similar bill passed by the legislature last year, saying, “The bill requires further work to address operational issues and tax concerns.”
But California faces significant financial strains this year. Newsom announced Friday that the state’s budget deficit widened to nearly $32 billion, about $10 billion more than expected.
“It hasn’t been an easy household, but I hope you’ll see that we’ll do our best to stay on top of things and look after those who are most vulnerable and in need, while still maintaining prudence,” Newsom said.
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Additionally, an influx of migrants entering the state after Title 42 expires could result in more illegal immigrants eventually relying on unemployment insurance.
Title 42, a Trump administration policy to suspend asylum rights, expired Thursday night, prompting an influx of migrants to the border. A record 83,000 migrants crossed the border last week in anticipation of the policy’s expiration, but US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said border officials saw a 50% drop in the number of crossers crossing the border over the weekend.
Just south of San Diego, around 15,000 migrants had gathered in Tijuana last week, filling hotels and emergency shelters or sleeping outside in a makeshift camp while waiting for track 42 to expire hoping to make it to the Golden State, the New York Times reported.