Editor’s note: When it comes to immigration — illegal or otherwise — the American people have a right to be concerned. Each week, Liberty Nation author Kelli Ballard examines a contentious issue related to today’s hottest topic.
A minor win came from a federal court this week that may prevent Montgomery County, MD, from providing COVID relief funds to illegal aliens. Judicial Watch announced the victory in a lawsuit it filed on behalf of the county’s taxpayers. Although this is only one county in one state, perhaps this sets a precedent that other jurisdictions will follow to prevent those residing in the United States illegally from obtaining federal and state funding.
According to the watchdog organization, it filed a lawsuit on behalf of Sharon Bauer and Richard Jurgena, who had submitted their own suit on May 13. The county’s executive, Marc Elrich, and county director of the Department of Health and Human Services, Raymond Crowel, moved the case to federal court. Bauer and Jurgena argued that their tax money should not go to pay for people illegally in the county, and Judicial Watch contended that the action was not legal. Tom Fitton, president of the Judicial Watch, said:
“Montgomery County Executive Elrich and the Montgomery County Council have no legal authority on their own to spend taxpayer money for cash payments to illegal aliens. The coronavirus challenge doesn’t give politicians a pass to violate the law. If they want to give cash payments to illegal aliens, they must be accountable and transparent, and, as federal law requires, pass a state law to do so.”
Under federal law, unlawfully present aliens are not eligible to receive state or local public benefits, and that includes direct cash payments. If a state wishes to provide such funding, it must first enact a state law. When Elrich and the county council approved the Emergency Assistance Relief Payment Program (EARP), argued Judicial Watch, they broke federal law. EARP, funded by taxpayers’ money, would provide $500 to single adults, $1,000 to each family with one child and $150 for each additional child, up to $1,450 maximum per family. Low-income residents, including those in the county illegally, are eligible to apply for the one-time payment relief.
Judicial Watch set out to obtain a restraining order to keep Elrich and Crowel from using taxpayer money on the EARP program. Although the court denied the order, it did bid the county to reserve 25% of funds yet to be spent until a more permanent judgment could be made. The watchdog organization claimed a victory, saying the court at least somewhat agreed with its suit and adding: “Based on an analysis of the federal statute alone, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs have demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the merits.” Fitton concluded:
“This court ruling pushes back on the abuse by county officials who want to send taxpayer coronavirus money to illegal aliens in violation of federal law.”
Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) also passed a similar relief fund, specifically designed to help illegal aliens. Currently, Judicial Watch has a lawsuit against this action as well and is waiting for results.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.