A controversial piece of legislation that would grant unemployment benefits to undocumented immigrants is being considered in California.
The proposed Senate Bill 227, dubbed the Safety Net for All Workers Act, aims to provide financial assistance to laid-off individuals who are currently excluded from receiving Unemployment Insurance because of their immigration status.
California Legislature Proposes Unemployment Benefit for Illegal Aliens https://t.co/44aMpppspu
— Lois Levine Fishman (@FishmanLevine) May 17, 2023
Under the provisions of the bill, undocumented immigrants would be eligible to receive $300 per week for a maximum of 20 weeks. The proposed time frame for this program is from January 1, 2025, to December 21, 2025.
The bill, which will be reviewed by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday, also mandates that the Department responsible for implementing the program must enact the regulations by January 1, 2025, and prohibit the disclosure of personal information obtained through the initiative.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. María Elena Durazo (D-CA), emphasized the contributions made by immigrants to California’s economic prosperity. Despite their significant impact in various sectors such as agriculture, construction, and clothing, immigrants continue to be excluded from California’s safety net programs, according to Senator Durazo.
“Every day, undocumented immigrants contribute to California’s economic prosperity. Yet immigrants continue to be shut out from California’s economic success due to unjust exclusions from the safety net,” Durazo stated.
In a show of support for the bill, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors passed a resolution in March, with Supervisor Shamann Walton arguing that illegal aliens who work in the U.S. have earned the benefits they are being denied.
“We cannot take people’s money, take people’s taxes, take people’s labor, and then deny them the very benefits and rights that they deserve and have earned,” Walton asserted.
However, the proposed bill has ignited a heated debate, as critics argue that it places an additional financial burden on a state already struggling with a substantial deficit of about $32 billion.
The potential influx of immigrants resulting from the expiration of Title 42, a Trump-era policy that restricts border entry due to public health concerns, further exacerbates these concerns.
According to Minority Leader Brian Jones (R-CA), a law like that is like an invitation to even more illegal immigrants as anybody would be drawn to such “free money.”
The Senate Appropriations Committee’s decision would determine if the bill will advance or will be set aside.