Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed legislation late Sunday night that would have made undocumented seniors eligible for California’s cash assistance program.
The bill, authored by Assemblyman Juan Carrillo, D-Palmdale, would have provided $1,100 to $1,900 per month to undocumented individuals who are blind, disabled or older than 65. Currently, California’s Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) is limited to people with eligible immigration status.
The measure overwhelmingly passed the Legislature last month.
In his veto message, Newsom cited the proposed expansion’s $180 million annual cost, as estimated by the California Department of Social Services.
“While I appreciate the author’s goal to expand CAPI eligibility regardless of immigration status, enacting this policy without providing funding would not be prudent nor would it meet its intended purpose,” Newsom said in his veto message.
Proponents of the legislation have long argued undocumented immigrants are unable to benefit from social programs, despite paying state and local taxes. Undocumented immigrants paid an estimated $3.7 billion in state and local taxes in 2019, according to USC’s California Immigrant Data Portal.
“Undocumented immigrants work, day in and day out, sunup to sundown, but as a society we rarely – if ever – think about the day when these hard-working Californians grow old, and their bodies can no longer work the same way. The dignified and just thing to do is to recognize the decades and decades of work undocumented immigrants have given to California,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, in a statement.
Newsom pointed to steps his administration has taken for the undocumented community in recent years. These include expanding Medi-Cal eligibility for all undocumented residents and committed to extending food assistance to undocumented seniors over 55.
This story was initially revealed October 9, 2023, 12:36 PM.