Los Angeles, CA – On Friday, May 15, 2020 the conservative action group Judicial Watch filed a petition in the California Court of Appeals requesting a Writ of Mandate demanding a lower court issue a temporary restraining order halting Governor Gavin Newsom’s plan to provide $74 million dollars in COVID-19 relief funding to the state’s undocumented immigrants.
Judicial Watch appealed the case after a judge in the Los Angeles Superior Court declined to rule in their favor the group’s request for a temporary order on May 5, 2020. Judicial Watch filed the claim against Newsom and the Director of the California Department of Social Services Director, Kim Johnson.
California is not the only state Judicial Watch has set its sights on. At least one other municipality—Montgomery County, MD was also sued for seeking to provide similar support for its immigrant community.
Across the country wherever leaders are working on behalf of the immigrant community to help ensure they have a safety net during the COVID-19 crisis, Judicial Watch appears to work at cross purpose to thwart their efforts. Critics believe the agency and its supporters appear ignorant or disingenuous in their concern of immigrants’ contributions to their communities, states, and the nation.
Beyond serving on the front line in jobs deemed essential during this pandemic, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economy Policy, in California alone each year these immigrants contribute hundreds of millions of dollars in local tax revenues to counties around the state each year, collectively totaling more than $1.53 billion. In addition, when their contributions to the state’s tax coffers are included, the total increases to an average $3 billion dollars per year.
The Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants initiative signed by Governor Newsom was effective May 18, 2020. It provides eligible undocumented adult immigrants one-time COVID-19 disaster relief assistance in the amount of $500. A limit of two undocumented adults per household can receive this support—the maximum assistance available per household is $1,000.