Oregon Emergency Board Approves $10 Million For Illegal Aliens From Covid Aid Funding

Oregon speaker of the house Tina Kotek and senate president Peter Courtney.

The Joint Emergency Board in Oregon convened today to scheme up how they were going to pay their friends off with all of the federal funding that has come rolling in via the CARES Act. Part of the plan approved by the board is a $10 Million package to be allocated to illegal aliens. They voted down funding for rural hospitals. The board numbers 13 democrats to 7 republicans.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports:

Oregon lawmakers approved more than $32 million in state spending Thursday, passing an emergency aid package meant to help renters, small businesses, domestic violence survivors, and workers that have been disadvantaged by the novel coronavirus.

At the same time, the Legislative Assembly’s joint Emergency Board gave Gov. Kate Brown the authority to spend up to $300 million in federal aid the state has received. That money had no specific destination, though it must be used under federal guidelines to address the coronavirus.

The emergency board has the authority to spend money when lawmakers are out of session but is limited to a special emergency fund. At the outset of Thursday’s meeting, the fund contained $50.65 million, from which lawmakers spent the following:

  • $12 million for rent assistance and motel vouchers for disadvantaged communities. Most of the money, $8.5 million, will go directly to landlords on behalf of renters making at most 50 percent of area median income. The remaining money is intended to pay for hotel or motel rooms for specific groups, such as farm workers or people without stable housing.

  • $5 million in financial assistance to businesses with a maximum of 25 employees. This money will be matched with another $5 million from the Oregon Business Development Department, creating a $10 million fund that will offer assistance to small businesses that haven’t been able to access federal aid such as the fast-depleted Paycheck Protection Program.

  • $2 million for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. The money will be delivered via grants to dozens of organizations around the state and will focus on housing.

  • $10 million to create a wage replacement fund for newly unemployed workers who are unable to access routine unemployment payments for reasons such as their immigration status. This funding, a focus of community groups in recent weeks, proved the most contentious proposal for state dollars.

  • $3.35 million to help workers in long-term care facilities pay for coronavirus testing and offer caregivers training in infectious disease prevention.

  • $119,778 to pay for a new human resources employee in the Bureau of Labor and Industries, which is understaffed even as it’s seeing high demand during the pandemic.

The debate was more fraught on the $10 million package to assist workers who don’t qualify for unemployment insurance. That so-called Oregon Worker Relief Fund would rely on community agencies to reach out to workers in need, offering up to $595 a week.

But the novel tool will require an entirely new administrative structure, officials say. Because of that, up to $1 million of the money lawmakers allocated can be spent on administrative costs, though at least some of that is expected to be defrayed by community fundraising.

Those costs, along with the untested nature of the program, gave some lawmakers heartburn. The measure still passed 15-5.

Now this “worker relief fund” is specifically allocated to people who don’t qualify for other types of federal aid, which pretty much just means it to be used for illegal aliens. They’ll be getting $595 a week as they don’t work.

The politicians basically appeased the immigrants rights groups who were complaining earlier in the month, as the (nearly dead) Portland Mercury reported on April 9th:

Oregon employs an estimated 74,000 undocumented people—nearly 75 percent of the state’s entire undocumented population. Like the rest of the Oregon population, thousands of immigrants were unexpectedly laid off due to COVID-19 closures in the past month, but because of their immigration status, none of them are eligible to collect unemployment insurance.

“We’re talking about restaurant workers, homeowners caring for their elderly family members, farm workers, construction workers,” said Adriana Miranda, director of Causa Oregon.

Causa specifically represents undocumented Latinx immigrants, a population that is already disproportionally impacted by COVID-19. According to a Pew Research Center study released April 3, 49 percent of surveyed Latinx Americans say that they or someone in their household has taken a pay cut or lost a job because of the COVID-19 outbreak, compared with 33 percent of all US adults.

“Immigrant Oregonians are the backbone of our state’s economy and they pay taxes, yet they are continually left out of receiving any public benefits,” Miranda said. “This situation really highlights the need.”

Many of these undocumented Oregonians file taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)—a number provided by the federal government to undocumented immigrants who are required to pay taxes, even though they don’t have a Social Security Number. The Oregon Center for Public Policy estimates that undocumented Oregonians pay a total of $81 million in state and local taxes annually.

Even those with an ITIN number, however, are prohibited from accessing unemployment benefits or any of the stimulus money guaranteed through the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which has promised a $1,200 check to all adults who file taxes. The stimulus bill also grants $500 to each child under age 17. While many children of undocumented workers are US citizens, their parents’ status effectively bars them from accessing these funds.

The Non Profit Association Of Oregon put together a little PDF presentation that has been endorsed by all sorts of wacked out leftist and pro illegal alien groups, and includes such passages as:

As COVID-19 continues to affect low-wage employees, we continue to see a high level of unemployment for the communities we serve. ​Many gainfully employed Oregonians who are immigrants (and contribute to our collective prosperity) have lost their jobs–and thus their wages–because of the pandemic and have no access to any wage replacement program such as the federal Unemployment Insurance program. This has immediate harsh impacts suchas housing and food insecurity and long-term impacts for these immigrant families.​ We understand that the committee is currently developing a policy approach for COVID-19.

We want to ensure workers who are ineligible for UI benefits are included.We solve this problem by creating a rapid community-based grant system. The OWRF program emulates a wage replacement program.​ We ask our state government to set up a wage-replacement emergency fund for culturally-specific communities of the state who are restaurant workers, care-givers, immigrants, refugees, day laborers, and farm workers.

We anticipate that the need for a response like this will be significant. We estimate that we will need to serve74,000 UI-Ineligible immigrant workers ​(Migration Policy Institute), all of whom contribute to the collective prosperity of Oregon and are disproportionately impacted by the wage loss caused by COVID-19

And they list their goal as:

Provide financial relief to Oregonians that cannot access public benefits. ​Many Oregonian immigrants fallunder classifications that make them ineligible for unemployment insurance (UI). For instance, many Oregoniansoperate as independent contractors or are ineligible for public benefits due to their immigration classification.The Oregon Worker Relief Fund would provide temporary financial support for those that are falling through the cracks during our current pandemic.

As the state emergency board was signing off on this, they opted to not fund rural hospitals that have essentially closed during the panic, as the OPB article goes on to explain:

Even more controversial was a spending proposal that was ultimately put on ice because of concerns.

Legislators took up a proposal to create a $50 million fund to offer zero-interest loans to rural hospitals, who have taken an enormous financial hit during the pandemic. The money would come from the federal government, not the state, but lawmakers from both parties railed against the plan.

Hospitals should not have to pay back the money they received, they said.

“We would look so incredibly foolish if we allowed hospitals to go bankrupt during a global pandemic,” said Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose. “The way this is constructed right now, I’m not sure I can support it.”

Rep. Rob Nosse, D-Portland, said that cash-strapped hospitals might not be interested in a loan program, as opposed to a grant that would not have to be repaid.

“I worry that there’s not going to be any hospital that takes advantage of this,” said Nosse. “That we will have $50 million in federal money just sitting there not getting used.”

After a recess, Kotek and Courtney suggested delaying the proposal for a later date, suggesting it will re-emerge at some point in a retooled form. The motion passed unanimously.

Scarier yet:

The largest amount of money considered in the session was $300 million in federal lawmakers gave the governor’s office to use as it sees fit, through the state’s Department of Administrative Services. That could help defray costs such as tens of millions spent on purchasing personal protective equipment for the state, Kotek said.

That’s right, Oregon’s legislators are more concerned with making sure illegal aliens are getting $595 a week than they are with helping hospitals. Of course those hospitals are in the part of the state that usually doesn’t vote democrat, so this is their punishment.

Meanwhile, the homeless crisis continues to worsen, but the brave and stunning legislators would rather pay off illegal aliens then help actual Americans.

You can reach senate president Peter Courtney on his official state line at 503-986-1600 and house speaker Tina Kotek on her official state line at 503-986-1200.


Thanks for sharing!