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Madison Diverted $700,000 In Taxpayer Covid Relief To Illegal Aliens

Madison is among several blue cities and states that used taxpayer-funded Covid aid for programs for illegal immigrants.


A Wisconsin lawmaker is demanding answers from the city of Madison in the wake of a report showing the leftist enclave doled out hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal Covid relief funds to illegal immigrants. 

“The decision to use pandemic relief money to assist illegal immigrants at the expense of Wisconsinites reveals the out of touch priorities of Madison politicians,” Republican state Sen. Duey Stroebel said Thursday in a statement. His office has filed an open records request “to investigate the city’s questionable use” of the federal funds. 

It appears city officials decided to do an end-around with their portion of the nearly $2 trillion in so-called “stimulus” funds that were handed out — and simultaneously dumped onto the untenable U.S. debt — by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in response to the Covid pandemic. 

The Institute for Reforming Government’s Center for Investigative Oversight found the city approved $700,000 from its share of State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) to assist illegal immigrants. Records obtained by IRG show the money was handed out to area nonprofits that ultimately provided services to illegal aliens in Madison, “despite those immigrants being largely ineligible to otherwise receive direct federal or state aid.”  

‘Funneling Taxpayer Dollars’ 

The records include a document noting the expenditures, and the fact that illegal immigrants are not eligible for federal or state “direct assistance” under the law. As of the filing, $608,000.24 of the funds had been expended for “economic impact assistance.”

“The project addresses the need to support programming, services and outreach for persons in the community who are undocumented. The pandemic has had a profound impact on undocumented residents particularly around employment and housing,” the city states in its SLRFR compliance report for the fourth quarter of 2023.  “These residents are not eligible, in some cases, to receive direct assistance provided by Federal and State governments, and have been reluctant or unable, in others, to access resources for which they are eligible.”

“Funding will support community partners and provide the means to deliver direct assistance to undocumented individuals and families as they cope with the consequences of COVID-19,” the document continued. “Funds will be allocated to agencies with established relationships with affected communities using a competitive application process. The anticipated contract start date will be March 15, 2022.”

The nonprofits involved include RISE Wisconsin Inc., the Latino Academy of Workforce Development,  and the Community Immigration Law Center, according to the documents. CILC is a left-of-center law firm “which seeks to prevent deportation of illegal immigrants,” according to activist tracker InfluenceWatch. Part of its mission is to work with aligned groups “to promote their immigration policy positions and train activists.” The center is located in Madison’s Christ Presbyterian Church, whose pastor is “a left-of-center activist who has publicly endorsed child sex-transition treatments and participation by transgender natal males in women’s sports,” according to InfluencWatch.

“ARPA funding was a vital part of Madison’s response to the Covid pandemic and its wide-reaching impact on our community,” Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway told The Federalist. “We are proud of the work our community partners did with this funding and the difference that it made for some of our hardest-hit residents and communities.”

All told, the city of Madison received more than $42 million in State and Local Fiscal Relief Fund money as part of its ARPA share. In July 2021, the Madison Common Council adopted a resolution allocating $22.8 million of that funding “to help support communities within the City that were most impacted by the pandemic,” Deputy Mayor Katie Crawley said in an email response to The Federalist. The remaining $24.4 million was used to maintain government services.

Crawley confirmed $700,000 of the funds went to “fantastic community partners” that serve illegal immigrants. She said the city has provided quarterly expenditure reports and annual recovery plans to the U.S. Treasury Department, as required by the law. She insisted the city’s ARPA expenditures complied with the allowable categories spelled out under the Treasury’s final rule. Such bureaucratic rules often massage, expand, or usurp the original intent of Congress, however.

“It is troubling to learn that the City of Madison is funneling taxpayer dollars intended to help Wisconsinites to illegal immigrants. Taxpayers need answers,” said Jake Curtis, IRG’s general counsel and director of oversight. “Our team at the Center for Investigative Oversight is committed to working with our state and federal partners to bring to light answers for the hardworking taxpayers of our state.” 

Windfall For Illegal Immigrants

As Fox News reported in February, several Democrat-led states handed out more than a half billion dollars of federally funded Covid relief to illegal immigrants. A report by the Economic Policy Innovation Center (EPIC) found Washington state accounted for the majority of the $517 million, issuing payments of $1,000 to illegal aliens to the tune of approximately $340 million. 

According to EPIC’s review of U.S. Department of Treasury data, Washington’s federal taxpayer-funded Immigrant Relief Fund provided “a one-time cash grant” of $1,000 “for each resident of Washington who are at least 18 years of age and are ineligible to receive federal economic impact payments or unemployment insurance benefits due to their immigration status.” 

“This means the Biden Administration directly subsidized ‘undocumented’ immigration under the guise of COVID-19 pandemic relief,” the center’s report states. 

Stroebel said Madison’s diversion of pandemic aid to foreign citizens is “just the latest example of the waste and abuse of federal COVID dollars.” 

“Communities across this country are grappling with the consequences of the open border policies of the Biden/Harris administration. From the rise in fentanyl seizures at the southern border to the overwhelming of school services in Whitewater to the tragic murder of Laken Riley in Georgia, the immigration crisis is something that is impacting every state, including Wisconsin,” the senator said. “The decision to use pandemic relief money to assist illegal immigrants at the expense of Wisconsinites reveals the out of touch priorities of Madison politicians.”

No Accountability

Will anybody ever be held accountable for the misuse of so much money? Probably not. 

U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup, chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, said in August that the $350 billion State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program, “like many other Covid relief programs — possessed very few common-sense restrictions that could have protected the American taxpayer.” The Ohio Republican noted reports of the funds being used to replace golf course irrigation systems, boost prize winnings for horse racing competitors, and to create a “racial equity” commission in Providence, Rhode Island.

And the beat goes on. Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza marked $10 million from the $166 million the Rhode Island city received in ARPA funds for the Covid-19 Equities Program, aka reparations initiative, according to The Brown Daily Herald. 

Meanwhile, politicians in leftist-led cities and states that are begging for federal funds to clean up President Joe Biden’s border mess are boasting about the Covid relief money they used to subsidize illegal immigration. 

“The COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund was highly publicized and repeatedly funded by the Legislature,” Mike Faulk, a spokesman for liberal Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, told Fox News. “It ran from 2020 to 2023. Folks would do well to familiarize themselves with the disparate health impacts that faced communities of color and immigrants during the pandemic. All Washingtonians were impacted by COVID regardless of where they came from, and our state was proud to help as many of our residents as possible during an unprecedented disaster.”

U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, who represents Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, told The Federalist that the potential misuse of taxpayer money is one of the many reasons he voted against the so-called American Rescue Plan.

“The massive spending package President Biden signed into law allowed for lump sums of money to be given to various governments without defining clear requirements for the usage of taxpayer dollars,” Steil said.

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