California Proposes Using Taxpayer Money to Give Illegal Immigrants Unemployment Benefits

A field worker with a straw hat works at a strawberry farm with other workers during the morning haze in Los Angeles, California. File photo: F Armstrong Photography, Shutter Stock, licensed.

LOS ANGELES, CA – Despite the fact that the state’s budget deficit is currently approximately $32 billion, California lawmakers have proposed a bill that would give illegal immigrants full unemployment benefits, a plan that would cost taxpayers an estimated $356 million if it came to fruition. 

As California prepares for a massive influx of migrants with the end of Title 42 occurring last week, SB 227 – otherwise known as the Safety Net for All Workers Act – would provide illegal immigrants who have been laid off from their jobs $300 per week for up to 20 weeks.  

The bill’s sponsor, state Senator María Elena Durazo, said that many jobs throughout California rely on the labor of individuals who are in this country illegally, and denying them unemployment benefits when they are laid off is unfair. 

“Every day, undocumented immigrants contribute to California’s economic prosperity in agriculture, construction, clothing and other industries,” she said. “Yet immigrants continue to be shut out from California’s economic success due to unjust exclusions from the safety net.”  


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When similar legislation landed on his desk in 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed it, with his stated reasoning for doing so being that “the bill needs further work to address operational issues and fiscal concerns.” 

However, if the bill is passed and is sent to Newsom once again for his signature, he is likely to give it the thumbs down a second time, given the fact that the state is essentially broke at this point; California’s budget deficit was announced last Friday coming in at $10 billion more than originally anticipated, for a total of nearly $32 billion. 

“This was not an easy budget, but I hope you see we will try to do our best to hold the line and take care of the most vulnerable and most needy but still maintain prudence,” Newsom said. 

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