California Supreme Court denies bid to block payments to immigrants


A farmworker, considered an essential worker under the current COVID-19 pandemic guidelines, covers his face as he works at a flower farm Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in Santa Paula, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a bid to block the state’s first-in-the-nation plan to give money to immigrants living in the country illegally who are hurt by the coronavirus.

It was the second time in two days that judges refused to stop Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $75 million plan to aid an estimated 150,000 unemployed adults who were left out of the stimulus package approved by Congress because of their immigration status.

The program offers each adult $500 to be distributed through nonprofit groups in an effort to protect recipients from providing personal information that might cost them other benefits or increase their danger of being deported.

The state’s high court in a one-sentence order rejected the petition filed by the Center for American Liberty, which contended the program violates the state Constitution’s ban on giving gifts to organizations outside of the state’s exclusive control.

It was filed by attorney Harmeet Dhillon, who is also a Republican Party official, on behalf of two long-shot Republican candidates for the state Assembly.

A Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday similarly rejected a request from the conservative group Judicial Watch to stop the program. That complaint argued Newsom lacked explicit authority from state lawmakers to provide the money.

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