California Legislature Considers Unemployment Benefits for Illegal Aliens

FAIR Take | May 2023

At the same time Gov. Newsom is complaining about mounting costs to the state, the California legislature is considering a bill that would give unemployment benefits to illegal aliens. The bill, The Safety Net for All Workers Act, Senate Bill (SB) 227, would give $300 per week for up to 20 weeks to illegal aliens who are laid-off from jobs that they are not even entitled to fill.  Indeed, since 1986, federal law has prohibited employers from hiring illegal aliens.

Providing unemployment benefits for illegal aliens is estimated to cost California an extra $356 million annually, adding to the state’s already crushing fiscal burdens.  California officials are anticipating a budget deficit next year due to an economic downturn.  The projected shortfall is expected to be a whopping $22.5 billion.  Remarking on this projected deficit, Gov. Newsom said that “California cannot continue to absorb the responsibility of the federal government, we’ve made that crystal clear to the Biden administration for some time.”

According to FAIR’s most recent cost study, illegal aliens in California already cost state taxpayers $30.9 billion annually.  Recently, however, the state has piled on more expenditures to welcome illegal aliens.  For example, over the past three years, California has spent $1 billion to fund resource centers (there are two shelters in San Diego and one in Imperial County) that provide services to illegal aliens. These resource centers offer assistance to illegal aliens in traveling to other US cities and states.

And, if the Legislature passes the measure, unemployment benefits would be granted to illegal aliens in addition to healthcare benefits that will kick in next year. In 2022, California passed a bill to provide healthcare for all low-income residents regardless of immigration status by 2024. This legislation is expected to cost California taxpayers about $2.7 billion annually.

These measures are sure to attract more illegal aliens to the United States, and to California in particular.  There were nearly 110,000 illegal aliens encountered by San Diego Sector agents between ports of entry from October 2022 to April 2023, the large majority (77 percent) being single adults. This represents a 30 percent increase from the same period last year.  And while official border numbers for May have not yet been released, the numbers appear only to be increasing.  A representative from one Catholic Charities shelter in San Diego County said it has received over 1,000 illegal aliens daily since Title 42 ended, an increase of at least 30 percent.

The Golden State may be paved with gold, or at least welfare benefits for illegal aliens, but that is not true for other California residents including the homeless and veterans. Most state residents are saddled with high taxes to pay for a myriad of government programs which has caused them to flee the state for neighboring ones. Over 500,000 Californians bolted the sunny enclave over the past two years. While California residents migrate away, illegal aliens continue to pour in, drawn to the state for the bevy of benefits provided by this sanctuary jurisdiction. And now that Title 42 has been lifted, illegal border crossers will likely overwhelm the state’s resources, causing Governor Gavin Newsom to cry “uncle”.

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