California Gov. Gavin Newsom listens to a question during an interview in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. Newsom said President Donald Trump should be removed from office by Congress, but with Republicans in control of the U.S. Senate the best way to boot Trump from office is at the ballot box. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Californians struggling to make ends meet during extended coronavirus shutdowns were not amused when their governor, Gavin Newsom, announced the creation of a public-private partnership to give away $125 million ($500/person) in pandemic relief grants to illegal immigrants who are ineligible to receive unemployment benefits or federal stimulus checks (because they are not here legally, duh).
Newsom further explained that of the $125 million in funding, $75 million would come from taxpayer funds (without explaining any legislative process appropriating such funds) and that “a group of charities” had promised to chip in $50 million. An accompanying press release gave more details (emphasis added):
California’s $75 million Disaster Relief Fund will support undocumented Californians impacted by COVID-19 who are ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits and disaster relief, including the CARES Act, due to their immigration status. Approximately 150,000 undocumented adult Californians will receive a one-time cash benefit of $500 per adult with a cap of $1,000 per household to deal with the specific needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals can apply for support beginning next month.
The state’s Disaster Relief Fund will be dispersed through a community-based model of regional nonprofits with expertise and experience serving undocumented communities.
There’s only one problem. California’s Constitution forbids appropriating funds “to any corporation, association, asylum, hospital, or any other institution not under the exclusive management and control of the State as a state institution.” Newsom had attempted this method of distribution since, under state and federal law, unemployment benefits cannot be extended to illegal aliens either without caring that it was prohibited under California’s constitution, or believing that no one would care enough to challenge it.
He was wrong. On April 22 Ricardo Benitez, a legal immigrant from El Salvador, and Jessica Martinez, a Californian of Mexican/American descent, “filed an emergency petition to the California Supreme Court requesting the Court immediately stay Governor Newsom’s appropriation of $75 million to unnamed regional non-profits so they can, in turn, provide $500 checks to unemployed undocumented immigrants.” Benitez and Martinez are both Republican candidates for the California State Assembly and are represented by The Center for American Liberty in conjunction with Harmeet Dhillon and Mark Meuser of the Dhillon Law Firm.
According to the petition, the network of unnamed charities, which are all illegal immigrant advocacy groups, will pocket 40 percent of the total funding to administer the program. This is nothing more than money laundering to keep these favored charities going through the pandemic.
Just a day after the petition was filed the California Supreme Court requested that Newsom and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra reply to the petition by April 28.
2/ While CA citizens/residents are still waiting state for unemployment benefits & choosing betw. paying rent & buying food, Governor ignores the Ca. Const. & state/federal law. @Liberty_Ctr is challenging his overreach! Please support our efforts at https://t.co/k555R206k2!
— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) April 23, 2020
Dhillon appeared on Fox & Friends Saturday morning to discuss the lawsuit and the Plaintiffs’ arguments.
As Dhillon says in the interview, since it doesn’t violate the California Constitution for the state to give food or clothing or material goods to illegal aliens who are in need, Newsom could appropriate money to that, or could simply ask that network of philanthropists who are going to pony up $50 million for his money laundering scheme to donate $75 million directly to the illegal aliens he’s so concerned about. But that wouldn’t allow him to take credit in his re-election campaign and wouldn’t line the pockets of the activists whose support he will need to man phone banks and walk precincts.
(Note: Harmeet Dhillon represents this author in potential litigation.)