LOS ANGELES – A taxpayers’ group filed court papers Wednesday to block Gov. Gavin Newsom’s allocation of $75 million in coronavirus-related aid to undocumented immigrants ineligible for unemployment insurance.
The still unofficial Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch Inc. represents the two plaintiffs, state taxpayers Robin Crest and Howard A. Myers. The plaintiffs are asking a judge to find the payments an illegal expenditure of taxpayer money. They also want a permanent injunction preventing taxpayer money from being made available to “unlawfully present aliens.”
The plaintiffs also name as a defendant Kim Johnson, director of the state Department of Social Services, who is tasked with overseeing and administering the expenditure.
A representative for Newsom did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
According to the plaintiffs, Newsom’s plan, announced April 15, would provide about 150,000 undocumented immigrants with a one-time cash payment of $500 with a cap of $1,000 per household.
The plaintiffs maintain the program would actually cost $79.8 million because of the additional cost of administering it through non-profit organizations.
The recipients would receive payments beginning in May and 40,000 of the 150,000 targeted people live in Los Angeles County, according to the plaintiffs. Myers and Crest maintain the state Legislature has not enacted “any law which affirmatively provides that unlawfully present aliens are eligible for those public benefits.”
Last week, another group, the Center for American Liberty, filed an emergency petition with the state Supreme Court asking for a stay on Newsom’s action. The plaintiffs are Whittier City Councilwoman Jessica Martinez and Ricardo Benitez, an immigrant from El Salvador who is now a U.S. citizen.
They are vying for Assembly District seats in the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys, respectively.
Previous related story: Newsom announces relief fund for undocumented immigrants