by Brian Lonergran
A great plague of our contemporary political landscape is that one bad policy begets even more bad policies. Such is the case with many of America’s existing immigration laws.
Federal law, for example, calls for specific enforcement protocols. But our elected representatives have decided that some of those protocols simply should be ignored. This mindset led to ideas like catching and then releasing illegal aliens into our communities, preventing local law enforcement from working with federal law enforcement, and “sanctuary” cities where those who have broken our laws can hide from accountability.
From this witches’ brew of bad ideas has come the latest product rollout, one suited for our time: stimulus checks for illegal aliens. Using the economic damage caused by COVID-19 as a pretext, anti-borders activists and their allied politicians have found a way to sustain those here illegally while creating further incentives for even more foreign nationals to move here.
When COVID-19’s impact was building in March 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act, which provided stimulus to eligible taxpayers who could produce a Social Security number. As only citizens and noncitizens with work permits are legally eligible to obtain a number, those here illegally did not qualify for the program. Such a requirement was not only sensible but it also could have served as a lesson on the advantages of complying with U.S. laws for work and citizenship.
The benefit of that lesson was quickly lost thanks to woke governors in left-leaning states who moved to get taxpayer funds in the hands of foreign nationals. California enacted its own stimulus package last year that included about $470 million in checks to over a half million in the state who did not receive federal payments. Since California required only a tax identification number and not a Social Security number, many of the recipients of the state checks were those here illegally.
Not to be outdone, New Jersey governor and illegal immigration advocate Phil Murphy is now proposing $53 million in the state budget to provide $500 checks for more than 100,000 illegal aliens in the state. This would be the Garden State’s third stimulus for aliens since last year.
Before resigning amid multiple scandals, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo cut a budget deal with state lawmakers that called for almost 200,000 illegal aliens to receive a one-time payment of $15,600 in benefits.
With the exception of the Biden White House’s ill-fated, ill-conceived plan to give $450,000 to illegal aliens separated from family because one or more parents were arrested for illegally entering the country, could there be a greater incentive for more illegal immigration than stimulus checks? To those living in desperately poor and underdeveloped countries, even a stimulus check of $500 must sound like a handsome reward for crossing the border.
Just as it seems all hope is lost, there are pockets of common sense prevailing among the madness. A federal district court in Maryland recently dismissed a lawsuit brought by taxpayers demanding that the Treasury Department provide COVID-relief stimulus checks to their spouses, who lack social security numbers because they are illegal aliens.
Lawyers for the Immigration Reform Law Institute argued in the case that there is no fundamental right to marital recognition that encompasses a right of illegal aliens to receive checks from the United States government as the plaintiffs claimed. In the ruling, the court dismissed the case as IRLI had urged, but on a different basis, finding that, because the suit was barred by the Anti-Injunction Act, the court did not even need to reach the constitutional issues.
While those who push for stimulus checks for illegal aliens claim to do so on humanitarian grounds, the end result is further erosion of the nation’s resources and ability to serve legal residents. Such an outlook does not have a future, as it will ultimately bankrupt and corrode a place the world has looked to as its last, best hope.
The late, great economist Milton Friedman famously said that a welfare state and an open immigration policy are incompatible. Today the Left wants both, the consequences to the nation be damned. Stimulus checks to illegal aliens primarily serves to stimulate more illegal immigration. It is time to reject this bad idea and others hatched from the same twisted ideology.
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Brian Lonergan is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.
Photo “U.S. Treasury Building” by Sealy j CC BY-SA 4.0.