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Dem states, cities overrun by migrants funneled millions in federal COVID-19 aid to support illegals

Cities and states overwhelmed by the surge in illegal immigrants in recent months earmarked millions of dollars in COVID-19 funding to support migrants with cash payments.

FIRST ON FOX: Democrat-run states and cities across the country that have been inundated with illegal immigrants in recent months previously earmarked tens of millions of dollars in COVID-19 financial assistance programs to support “undocumented residents.”

According to a Fox News Digital review of state and local programs, Democrat governors and mayors earmarked at least $517 million for the programs, which generally consisted of providing cash payments to individual illegal immigrants. The funding reviewed by Fox News Digital was drawn from the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the $1.9 trillion federal COVID-19 stimulus package President Biden signed into law in March 2021.

“This means the Biden Administration directly subsidized ‘undocumented’ immigration under the guise of COVID-19 pandemic relief,” a recent report from the Economic Policy Innovation Center stated, pointing to how federal ARP funds were diverted to illegal immigrants in Washington state.


Overall, in addition to Washington, Fox News Digital identified such a funding mechanism in Illinois and New Jersey, and the cities of Washington, D.C., Chicago, Denver and Boston. The jurisdictions, in particular, used funding from the ARP’s Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, which was designed to help local governments recover from the pandemic.

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Economic Policy Innovation Center President and CEO Paul Winfree told Fox News Digital this month that the Biden administration has been “actively encouraging illegal immigration by using COVID money” from the recovery fund.

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Washington’s government crafted the largest such program, allocating $340 million in ARP funding for the so-called “COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund” program. According to state and federal filings, the program consisted of sending one-time cash grants worth $1,000 each to immigrants with unauthorized citizenship status.

In a report last year, the Washington state Department of Social and Health Services said more than 100,000 undocumented residents received payments of $3,075 under the program. The state’s legislature approved the program in legislation passed in April 2021.

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“The COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund was highly publicized and repeatedly funded by the Legislature. It ran from 2020 to 2023,” Mike Faulk, a spokesperson for Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, told Fox News Digital. “Folks would do well to familiarize themselves with the disparate health impacts that faced communities of color and immigrants during the pandemic.”

“All Washingtonians were impacted by COVID regardless of where they came from, and our state was proud to help as many of our residents as possible during an unprecedented disaster,” he added.

In Illinois, the state government allocated $71.8 million in ARP funds for cash payments made “to households that were not eligible to receive Economic Impact Payments… due to immigration status.” Chicago’s government earmarked another $14.7 million for its “resiliency fund” which sent $500 cash transfers to tens of thousands of “previously excluded residents and domestic workers.”

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A notice issued as part of the program states that “no questions will be asked in regards to citizenship or immigration status” of applicants.

Meanwhile, both Chicago and Illinois broadly have experienced a massive surge in migrants, straining taxpayer-funded government services designed for citizens.

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“States and cities cannot indefinitely respond to the subsequent strain on state and local resources without Congressional action,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and eight fellow Democrat governors wrote in a letter to President Biden and congressional leaders last month.

Among the other governors to sign the letter — which further characterized the surge of migrants as a “humanitarian crisis” — was New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, whose administration earmarked $60 million in ARP funds for the “Excluded New Jerseyans Fund,” which sent cash payments to illegal immigrants.

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State filings show the state sent cash payments worth $2,000 per individual or up to $4,000 per household to tens of thousands of households. The state government defined “excluded New Jerseyans” as “undocumented individuals, residents re-entering from the justice system, and other individuals otherwise excluded from pandemic-related financial help.”

Washington, D.C., Denver and Boston allocated $26 million, $3 million and $1 million, respectively, for ARP-funded programs to give cash aid to illegal immigrants. Those cities have recently seen some of the largest surges in immigrants seeking government services and resources.

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For example, in 2022, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a public emergency in response to the surge, stating at the time that the city was “not a border town.”

And Denver and Boston have been forced to divert critical city resources to support migrants and build shelters for those lacking homes.

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“Today, we began making the hard decisions to reduce department budgets and begin reducing migrant services,” Denver Mayor Mike Johnston said this month. “Denverites have done their part, the city will do our part. The federal government failed to do their part. Addressing this crisis will require shared sacrifice, but we will continue to work together to meet this moment.”

Johnston’s remarks came after he slashed the budgets of city agencies amid the rise in migrants.

Meanwhile, in January, the federal government reported more than 156,000 migrant encounters at the U.S. southern border, a slight year-over-year uptick, but a decrease compared to the month prior. In December, more than 302,000 migrants were encountered crossing the border, by far the largest single-month figure ever recorded.

The December figures brought the fiscal 2024 first-quarter level to 785,000 encounters, the highest number ever recorded.

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