In a startling revelation reported by The New York Post, a new study by the Economic Policy Innovation Center (EPIC) has brought to light the use of federal COVID-19 relief funds in Washington state to distribute $1,000 checks to undocumented immigrants excluded from federal economic impact payments due to their immigration status.
The EPIC report delves into the allocation of funds administered by the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF), a program established under the American Rescue Plan Act to assist state and local governments in responding to and recovering from the pandemic. Washington state found itself at the center of scrutiny, having received a substantial $4.4 billion from the SLFRF, with $340 million earmarked for a program issuing $1,000 checks to undocumented immigrants.
The report, advocating for a smaller federal government, highlights how the funds were approved by the Washington state legislature in April 2021, providing what an impact report on the program termed as “another round of funding for undocumented Washingtonians.”
This controversial allocation is tied to the Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund, initiated in 2020 to provide financial aid to those ineligible for government assistance due to their immigration status. Treasury documents confirm an additional $340 million in federal relief funds allocated for one-time cash grants, with 10% of the funding directed to community-based organizations for program administration.
According to the EPIC report, this “cash transfer” expenditure falls under the SLFRF, revealing a direct subsidization of undocumented immigration under the guise of COVID-19 relief. The report raises questions about the adherence to the original intent of the relief funds, emphasizing transparency and accountability.
In response, state officials defended the program, stating that a previous investment of $128 million from the Trump-era CARES Act was insufficient for the overwhelming number of applications received. The fund, which concluded in early 2023, was described as an opportunity “to help people who may have been left out of other federal and state resources to address the economic impact of the pandemic.”
The EPIC report extends its scrutiny beyond Washington state, shedding light on several other projects related to illegal immigration across the country that utilized federal funds. These include programs in Arizona offering art, music, and dance classes for migrants and shelter expansion initiatives in Massachusetts.
Paul Winfree, president and CEO of EPIC, expressed concerns to Fox News Digital, asserting that the Biden Administration has actively encouraged illegal immigration through the use of SLFRF funds for cash assistance, housing, legal aid, and other benefits. Winfree pointed out that $120 billion in unspent money remains from the fund and urged lawmakers to halt these funds, warning that they continue to act as a magnet for illegal immigration until Congress takes action.
This revelation comes at a time of heightened concern about the influx of illegal immigrants into the U.S. As Congress negotiates a supplemental funding bill, Republicans are pushing for restrictions on asylum and increased oversight on the administration’s use of parole, further intensifying the debate over the appropriate use of federal funds in addressing the complex challenges posed by the ongoing immigration crisis.
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