Illegal immigrants would be eligible for unemployment benefits under $10 million DFL bill 

Called the "Worker Opportunity Act," the legislation would provide $300 weekly payments to eligible workers, including illegal immigrants. 

At 1st Avenue and Lake Street in Minneapolis, migrants line up looking for work of different kinds. (Alpha News)

Minnesota Democrats have introduced a bill that would set aside $10 million for a new unemployment program.

Called the “Worker Opportunity Act,” the legislation would provide $300 weekly payments to eligible workers, including illegal immigrants, for up to 13 weeks.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Aisha Gomez, DFL-Minneapolis, and Sen. Zaynab Mohamed, DFL-Minneapolis, would authorize the “payment of worker opportunity benefits … to provide income assistance to unemployed workers who are ineligible for state or federal unemployment insurance benefits due to reasons related to authorization to work.”

“An individual is eligible to receive worker opportunity benefits under this section for any week, regardless of immigration status,” the bill says before outlining certain eligibility requirements.

“It’s an unemployment program for illegals using YOUR tax dollars,” Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, said in response to the bill.

Immigration has become a hot topic at the legislature this session as the country grapples with a crisis at its southern border. At the start of the 2024 session, state Democrats pushed a bill to turn Minnesota into a “sanctuary state” for illegal immigrants. Legislative leaders, however, have indicated the bill doesn’t have the votes to become law.

A recent Center of the American Experiment poll found that 59% of Minnesotans oppose sanctuary state legislation.

Meanwhile, Republicans have introduced bills that would ban sanctuary jurisdictions, prohibit non-citizens from receiving state-issued stimulus checks, and increase penalties on non-citizens who commit crimes.

Last year, Democratic majorities in both the Minnesota House and Senate authorized legislation which allows illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, receive free college tuition, and access a state-run insurance program.

Another bill discussed this session would allow illegal immigrants to participate in a universal basic income program.


Anthony Gockowski
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Anthony Gockowski is Editor-in-Chief of Alpha News. He previously worked as an editor for The Minnesota Sun and Campus Reform, and wrote for the Daily Caller.