In February of this year, California Assemblyman Juan Carrillo (D-Palmdale) proposed AB-1536 in a push to expand the existing California cash assistance program CAPI. The proposed bill will allow undocumented disabled individuals and seniors over the age of 65 to receive between $1300 and $3,000 per month without having to apply to the Social Security Administration, which historically has been a barrier to entry for undocumented immigrants. Currently, CAPI provides monthly cash benefits to aged, blind, and disabled non-citizens who are normally unable to collect on Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment because of their immigration status.
Advocates for AB-1536 indicate that despite paying state and local taxes, undocumented immigrants are unable to benefit from their tax contributions and access social programs. In California, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates that undocumented immigrants contribute over $2 billion in state and local taxes. By contrast, the proposed expansion would be estimated to cost about $35 million during its first year.
Although passage of AB-1536 will likely be an uphill battle in the face of the projected California state budget deficit of $22.5 billion, proponents of the bill remain optimistic. The AB-1536 proposal has not yet received any formal opposition and will have its first committee hearing as early as this month.