“California gives aid to
undocumented workers: Bravo”
By Raoul Lowery Contreras
One in ten California workers are in the U.S. illegally, says California Governor Gavin Newsom. Many of these workers have been locked out of their jobs along with millions of other California workers during the statewide lockdown brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
To help American workers, Congress has passed bills to direct funds directly to workers who have been locked out of their jobs; more money for unemployment benefits and direct cash to every worker earning less than $75,000.
The problem with the federal money is that anyone in the country illegally and/or working illegally cannot collect federal money or most benefits. Congress has been consistent about denying funds to illegally-present people. That prohibition predates Donald J. Trump. It has been a pro forma denial sponsored generally by Republican congress people over the years.
Nonetheless, we know that almost 50 percent of the agricultural workforce in America is working illegally. In California it probably is higher especially in strawberries.
To be specific, the workers who grow and harvest practically all of America’s vegetables, nuts and fruits like apples, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, tomatoes, asparagus, garlic, onions, lettuce and, believe it or not, mushrooms grown in caves, those workers are almost all illegally working because most are in the country illegally. We can’t forget that surveys show that almost 100 percent of dairy workers in, for example, New York state are foreign-born, mostly Mexican. Guess how many of those Mexican-born dairy workers might not have the proper work papers.
So, while millions of workers locked out of work because of a virus are collecting cash and benefits to tide them over, there are many workers who are prohibited by federal law from collecting those same benefits. The reason: legal residency.
There is one big “however” involved in this situation.
The illegal workforce in the world’s fifth largest economy, that of the state of California, is getting help from and through the State of California.
Much to the emotional clap-trap of the anti-illegal alien “warriors” among us, including the usual suspects, Governor Gavin Newsome has announced that a public/private effort is making 150 millions of dollars available for distribution to many of those locked-down but prohibited from federal cash and benefits.
The State of California is contributing $75 million dollars and private sector donations are contributing $50 million.
To forestall complaints, Governor Newsom is very clear in pointing out that these very illegally-working people pay huge taxes in California; Newsom says, “Last year, undocumented immigrants paid $2.5bn in local and state taxes.”
Thus, any argument that these people shouldn’t receive any benefits because they are law-breakers is superseded by the fact they are taxpayers just like everyone else.
Kudos to the State of California. It makes me proud to say I am a Californian.