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Minnesota Democrats push forward bill that aims to give free money to undocumented migrants every month

Democratic lawmakers in California have in recent weeks proposed several bills aiming to provide different kinds of services to undocumented illegal immigrants for free, and their fellow Democrats in Minnesota have decided to follow the same path. These legislative efforts are unfolding against the backdrop of unprecedented levels of illegal immigration to the United States, with Texas expending significant state resources on border security.

Main focus

The issue of illegal immigration is contentious. Both likely presidential candidates, Biden and Trump, frequently discuss illegal immigration in their recent speeches and public appearances. In December, encounters between the U.S. Border Patrol and migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border reached a record high of nearly 250,000. The situation escalated in February when a bill designed to provide federal border assistance was rejected by Republican senators.

Help for migrants

Republican lawmakers criticize the federal government and states governed by Democrats for offering free services to undocumented migrants, arguing that such policies only encourage illegal entry into the country. This is most notable in California, where Democratic lawmakers have proposed legislation to grant migrants interest-free housing loans and free legal services, in addition to the free healthcare services the state already offers. Minnesota has now begun to adopt similar policies.

Bill aims to give money each month

In Minnesota, the Democratic Party is moving ahead with plans for a $500 per month support program for people in need. This plan, which has faced criticism for benefiting undocumented immigrants, is designed to help fight poverty, increase wealth, ensure fairness, and cover basic living costs for those who qualify. To be eligible, individuals must earn less than three times the poverty level as defined by the federal government.

Pilot program successful

This initiative follows a successful pilot program in St. Paul where 150 people received $500 monthly for over a year. Minneapolis is also trying out a similar program. The proposed state law, labeled HF 2666 and introduced on March 8, would allow for these payments to be made for 18 to 24 months. It was given the green light on March 12 by a key committee and would be funded by a one-time allocation of $100 million from the state’s budget for the 2025 fiscal year.

Minnesota Democrats are moving ahead with plans for a $500 per month support program for people in need including illegal immigrants
Dollars, credit: Freepik

Read also: Hochul once invited migrants to New York, now she blames Trump for the illegal immigration

Illegal immigrants could also get money

“I do think that it’s important that we extend this…to individuals who may not have documentation,” Democratic state Representative Athena Hollins, who authored the legislation, said during a legislative hearing on March 12. “I’m very excited to be presenting this bill. It builds on the successes and lessons that were learned from Springboard, the City of St. Paul, the City of Minneapolis and over 80 basic income programs that are nationwide,” she noted.

Implementation concerns

Rep. Walter Hudson from Albertville raised a few issues with the proposed law, pointing out that it doesn’t set rules for how nonprofits would use the funds or decide who gets them. He was worried because the law says clearly that organizations can’t ask people for any proof like how much money they make, where they live, if they’re citizens, or any ID.

“This program very explicitly would provide support to illegal immigrants or persons claiming to be someone other than they actually are,” Hudson said. “We’re not even going to question that, there’s not going to be any documentation whatsoever.”

Read also: Migrant caught in Texas wanted to go to New York, other states and kill people “that was not Muslim”

Another Democrat fully supported the bill

Support came from Hollins’ colleague in the DFL, state Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn. She spoke about how individuals from various life situations might use the money differently.

“How do we determine what $500 people spent on drugs?” Kotyza-Witthuhn said. “How do we determine what $500 people spent on a couch? How do we determine what $500 of the money they have is spent on food or childcare?

“We earn $5.8 billion dollars off the backs of undocumented immigrants in the state of Minnesota. They are paying taxes, and we should be supporting them as a member of our community,” Kotyza-Witthuhn added.

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