Report: WA diverted $340M in federal COVID funds to immigrants via $1K checks

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(The Center Square) – Three-and-a-half years after Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee announced the creation of two funds – the Immigrant Relief Fund and the Food Production Paid Leave Program – to help workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report highlights how federal pandemic funds went to ineligible illegal immigrants in the form of $1,000 checks.

The report by the Economic Policy Innovation Center says the checks came from $340 million in funding to Washington created by the federal American Rescue Plan Act intended to help state and local governments with their response to and recovery from the pandemic.

Washington received $4.4 billion in funding overall from the ARPA.

According to a 2020 news release, Inslee’s office stated the Immigrant Relief Fund would provide “$40 million to assist Washington residents who are unable to access federal stimulus programs due to their immigration status.”

The release added, “We have to ensure that no one in our state is left behind as we fight this pandemic as COVID-19 doesn’t care what your immigration status is. This is the right thing for the well-being of individuals, the health of their colleagues and the safety of our communities.”

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services was assigned with coordinating administration of the money, and at the time said it would be $1,000 per eligible individual, starting in fall 2020.

In April 2021, the Legislature approved checks for immigrants regardless of legal status.

According to the EPIC report, the Biden administration directly subsidized undocumented immigration under the guise of COVID-19 pandemic relief.

The report comes amid continued concern about the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S., especially at the southern border, as a proposal intended to clamp down on illegal border crossings is negotiated in the Senate.

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