May 05, 2020
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued a statement on a California’s court’s denial of Judicial Watch request temporary restraining order (TRO) against California Governor Gavin Newsom and his Director of the California Department of Social Services Kim Johnson to restrain them from spending $79.8 million dollars of taxpayers’ money to provide direct cash benefits to unlawfully present aliens. Though the court found that Judicia Watch was likely to succeed on the merits (that Governor Newsom had no authority under law to spend the money), the court found that there was a public interest in sending tax money to illegal aliens during the coronavirus crisis:
It is astonishing that a court would allow a public official to ignore the law and spend tax money with no legal authority. Simply put, as the court seems to acknowledge, the governor has no independent legal authority to spend state taxpayer money for cash payments to illegal aliens. We will appeal the court’s manifest error.
Governor Newsom announced his executive initiative on April 15, 2020. The initiative plans to spend $75 million to provide direct cash payments to illegal aliens and cost an estimated additional $4.8 million to administer. The Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants Project plans to provide one-time cash benefits of $500 per adult / $1,000 per household to 150,000 unlawfully present aliens in California. These benefits are not to be provided to U.S. citizens or legal aliens residing in the state, according to an April 17 fact sheet issued by the California Department of Social Services, the “Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants Fact Sheet,” which reiterates that only unlawfully present aliens are eligible for direct assistance.
The Judicial Watch lawsuit argued that the California State Legislature has not enacted any law which affirmatively provides that unlawfully present aliens are eligible for the $75 million of cash public benefits announced by Newsom.