California lawmakers on Monday approved $600 stimulus checks for state residents, including immigrants who are in the country illegally, according to reports.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office passed the provision for stimulus checks on Monday as part of the state’s new $7.6 billion COVID-19 relief package and said he would sign it into law on Tuesday.
About $470 million in stimulus checks will go to 565,000 Californians with individual tax identification numbers who did not receive federal stimulus payments and whose income is less than $75,000, many of whom are here illegally, The Los Angeles Times reported Monday.
The provision allocates about $2.3 billion for $1,200 stimulus payments to state residents with individual tax ID numbers who qualify for the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) — mostly people who earn less than $30,000.
Additionally, $600 one-time grants will go toward households enrolled in the CalWORKS program and recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI). About 405,000 payments will be made out to CalWORKS recipients; 1.2 million checks will be made out to SSI beneficiaries; and 15,000 will be made out to those enrolled in CAPI, the Times reported.
In total, 5.7 million payments will be made out to low-income Californians as part of the state’s new stimulus plan, according to a press release.
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Republican State Sen. Jim Nielsen expressed concern that the checks could create “long-term obligations to the undocumented” and contribute to future issues with the state budget as California looks ahead to economic recovery from the pandemic, the Times reported.
Democratic State Sen. Maria Elena Durazo said the checks don’t go far enough in providing aid to the state’s undocumented population who have faced financial trumoil as a result of the pandemic.
“I think it’s a great step forward. It’s an acknowledgment of all these low-wage workers … that they are working hard and they have been disproportionately impacted through unemployment,” Durazo said, according to the Times. “I think there is room to include more who are still not covered either by our state or by the federal [programs].”
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Other immigration advocates in the state said during a budget hearing that many illegal immigrants would still not receive any payments because they do not have individual tax ID numbers.
“This doesn’t cover all of the relief they have been excluded from, and we are creating inequality as a result,” California Immigrant Policy Center manager Sasha Feldstein told state lawmakers during the hearing.
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People who are eligible for the money should get it between 45 days and 60 days after receiving their state tax refunds, according to the Franchise Tax Board.
California’s relief package also includes more than $2 billion in grants for small businesses, waives about $25.6 million worth of business fees for struggling restaurants and hair salons and provides $30 million in aid for food banks and another $5 million for diaper banks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.