The top Republicans who are part of two House committees continue to press President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 rescue plan czar, Eugene Sperling, to review the fund New York created worth $2 million. The said fund aims to provide relief money to New York state’s illegal immigrants.
On Friday, Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.), a Budget Committee Ranking Member, and Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), an Oversight Committee Ranking Member sent Sperling a letter. In it, they ask Sperling, who is the American Resue Plan coordinator to look into New York’s program. The state’s plan would provide one-time payments worth up to $15,600 to undocumented aliens who became unemployed during the pandemic.
Comer and Smith wrote that given the questions raised by New York’s actions, they said they hope Sperling will use his designation “to protect the identity of American taxpayer dollars” and to prioritise Americans first.
The two representatives also pointed out that the amount of funding New York plans to use for illegal immigrants is “quite peculiar.”
Republicans Question $2B Relief For Illegal Immigrants
They noted that under the American Rescue Plan, New York, like other Democrat-run states, received “disproportionately more aid” compared to the other relief bills. In connection to this, the amount of additional funding New York receiving is similar to the new funding program for illegal immigrants.
For people to qualify for the payments in New York, they must prove that they are residents of the state. They must also prove they are ineligible to receive unemployment benefits and stimulus payments because of their immigration status. They must also demonstrate that their income decreased during the pandemic.
Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City defended the state’s program on Thursday.
He said that around half a million New Yorkers are undocumented immigrants. He claimed that they are part of life in New York City and that they have been suffering while not receiving the same help others have gotten. Blasio said that the program is their way of recovering together and he thinks it’s the right thing to do.
The NYC mayor has noted that he has no concerns about the program. This is despite the program’s large financial benefit and the border crisis in the south. He says the “root cause” of immigrants coming to the country illegally is the poor living conditions in the countries in Central America.
Despite this, GOP members criticized New York’s program. They saw it as a show of a liberal state’s poor governance.
Comer and Smith asked for Sperling to respond by April 16.