A California judge shot down a request Tuesday to halt California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to make stimulus payments to illegal immigrants to help them out during the coronavirus crisis.
Judicial Watch has sued to stop the payments, calling them illegal, and had asked for a temporary restraining order to prevent the state from spending the money while the case proceeds.
A judge rejected that request.
The state praised the ruling.
“California is taking legally and morally justified action to assist all Californians impacted by COVID-19,” said Scott Murray, deputy director of public affairs for the California Department of Social Services.
Mr. Newsom has earmarked $75 million in state money to go specifically to illegal immigrants. He’s also working with a charity to collect another $50 million.
The Democratic governor says that will cover 150,000 payments. He’s also working with a charity that’s trying to raise another $50 million to supplement the state’s funds.
Judicial Watch says federal law requires state legislatures to enact legislation to grant benefits to illegal immigrants. The conservative public interest law firm, which sued on behalf of two state taxpayers, said Mr. Newsom’s independent move violates that standard.
Judicial Watch said the judge agreed Mr. Newsom didn’t have the authority to spend the money, but rejected the temporary restraining order because there was an immediate public interest in getting the money out the door quickly 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,” said Tom Fitton, the group’s president, who vowed an appeal.