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The Seattle City Council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution requesting emergency economic assistance from the state of Washington for illegal immigrants, according to the Seattle Times.
What’s this about? The city council voted 9-0 on the resolution, which will be signed by Mayor Jenny Durkan. The resolution calls for the state to create a fund called the “Washington Worker Relief Fund” that would allocate at least $100 million to assist illegal immigrants who have lost their jobs or been harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Looking out for the most vulnerable in our community is even more critical in times of crisis,” Durkan said in a statement. “It is all the more important to ensure we are not pushing people further into the shadows.”
Seattle expects to have a $210 million to $300 million budget shortfall this year due to a loss in tax revenue caused by the pandemic.
Why do they want this? Illegal immigrants can’t receive federal benefits, such as the stimulus checks American individuals and families have been receiving or the unemployment benefits that have been boosted by federal legislation.
According to the resolution, more than 250,000 illegal immigrants live in Seattle. Many of them work in jobs deemed essential by the government, and others are concentrated in industries that have seen severe layoffs, but cannot receive assistance.
“Yet they don’t seem to be essential enough to access basic benefits,” Council President M. Lorena Gonzalez said, according to the Times. “Now is the time for us to make sure we are giving voice to these needs.”
Is the state on board? Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee has not committed one way or another on the resolution but is researching “how the state can best make sure everyone living in Washington has access to needed assistance,” according to a spokeswoman.
High demand in California: A California program offering cash aid to illegal immigrants opened this week, and phone lines quickly crashed as hundreds of thousands of people called in attempting to apply for the benefits.