Americans were surely relieved when the House passed the $2 trillion assistance bill to provide citizens with some protection from the economic ravages being wrought by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. But what they may not know is that a substantial part of that sum is going to be spent on helping non-Americans – i.e., immigrants and so-called ‘refugees’.
The bill, which is the largest spending bill in American history, includes a provision which provides $350 million for “Migrant and Refugee Assistance” to the US State Department.
House Republicans objected to a number of the provisions in the original bill and several were removed from the version that was ultimately passed, but what is odd is that the Migrant and Refugee Assistance funding was actually increased from $300 million to $350 million as the bill evolved through negotiations, according to a report by Fox News.
Matt Gaetz, a Republican Congressman representing Florida’s first district, objected to the provision in a tweet. “Millions of Americans need help now,” he wrote. “Dangerous poison pills like $350,000,000 for ‘Migration and Refugee Assistance’ put America LAST. Democrats: This is not the time to advance your legislative agenda. This is the time to put #AmericaFirst.”
The bill also awards $25 million to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, and $75 million each to the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. (In the original version of the bill, both were to receive $300 million each.)
It’s unclear how the House believes that providing funding for immigrants helps Americans in their time of crisis. Indeed, given that the coronavirus first appeared in China, it was immigration which brought the virus to America in the first place. But it’s no secret that there are many in the US government who have goals other than looking after the interests of American citizens as their top priorities.