Washington state diverted $340M in federal COVID funds to immigrants, including via $1,000 checks


A new report is highlighting how federal COVID funds were used in Washington state to give $1,000 checks to illegal immigrants who were ineligible to receive federal economic impact payments during the pandemic due to their immigration status.

The report, by the Economic Policy Innovation Center (EPIC), points to money administered by the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF), which was created by the American Rescue Plan Act and was intended to help state and local governments with their response and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Washington state received $4.4 billion in funding overall from that program.

The report from the group, which calls for a smaller federal government, highlighted how $340 million in funding went to a program that sent $1,000 checks to illegal immigrants in the state. The funds, approved by the Washington state legislature in April 2021, provided “another round of funding for undocumented Washingtonians,” according to an impact report on the program said.

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A woman walks by a street poster depicting Lady Liberty preventing an immigrant family from crossing the wall, during a “Defund the Police” march from King County Youth Jail to City Hall in Seattle, Washington on August 5, 2020.  ((Photo by JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images))

The Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund was first set up in 2020 to grant checks to those ineligible for government assistance programs due to their immigration status. Treasury documents confirm that the state has since provided an extra $340 million in federal relief funds for the one-time cash grants, with 10% of the funding went to community-based organizations to administer the program. 

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“The $340 million project is categorized as a ‘cash transfer’ expenditure under the SLFRF, approved for the State of Washington. This means the Biden Administration directly subsidized ‘undocumented’ immigration under the guise of COVID-19 pandemic relief,” the EPIC report said.

The state said that it had previously invested $128 million of funding from the Trump-era CARES Act for 120,000 immigrants who did not qualify for economic relief, but the funding was not sufficient for the number of applications the program received.

The fund has now ended, with the last payments going out in early 2023. State officials said the fund was 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 Economic Policy Innovation Center report highlights several other projects related to illegal immigration for which federal funds were used, including programs in Arizona for art, music and dance classes for migrants and expansion of shelters in Massachusetts.

“The Senate is releasing a budget supplemental that includes a bipartisan deal on the border. However, the administration has been actively encouraging illegal immigration by using COVID money from the SLFRF to provide cash assistance, housing, legal aid, and other benefits to undocumented immigrants,” Paul Winfree, president and CEO of EPIC, told Fox News Digital.

Winfree also stressed that there is still $120 billion in unspent money from the fund, and called on lawmakers to stop those funds.

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“Until Congress claws back this money, it will continue to serve as a magnet for illegal immigration,” he said.

The report comes amid continued concern about the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S. Congress is currently negotiating a supplemental funding bill, which would include aid to communities receiving migrants. But Republicans have sought to include restrictions on asylum and the administration’s use of parole.





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