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Madison Funnels $700,000 in COVID Money to Aid Illegal Immigrants, Wisconsin Senator Says

Duey Stroebel

The City of Madison has diverted pandemic relief funds to “aid illegal immigrants,” according to state Sen. Duey Stroebel (R – Cedarburg. That’s despite the fact that illegal immigrants are not supposed to receive “direct assistance” from federal or state governments, said Stroebel, who believes Madison has found a “way around the system.”

In an April 4 statement, Stroebel revealed that the City of Madison had “earmarked pandemic relief funds for ‘Services to Residents who are Undocumented.’”

In the City of Madison’s 2023 Q4 Compliance Report, the City of Madison “reported that they budgeted $700,000 of their State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) to provide aid for illegal immigrants,” he wrote.

The Institute for Reforming Government also put out a press release on the matter, writing, “The Institute for Reforming Government’s (IRG) Center for Investigative Oversight (CIO) recently uncovered that the City of Madison has approved $700,000 of taxpayer dollars for illegal immigrants.”

Duey stroebel
Duey stroebel

IRG noted, “According to records, the City of Madison has allocated nearly 10% of their SLFRF grant funds to nonprofits to provide services for undocumented immigrants, despite those immigrants being largely ineligible to otherwise receive direct federal or state aid.”

Madison’s leftist mayor, Satya Rhodes-Conway, publicly bragged about the maneuver in 2022. The statement, still available on the Madison website, reads,

“In July 2021, I submitted, and the Common Council approved, a plan to allocate federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to a variety of community priorities, supporting the recovery of residents and economy over two years. Funds were allocated for affordable housing and sheltering the homeless, for youth programming and violence prevention, for economic development and small business assistance as well as emerging needs.

As part of this effort, I targeted $700,000 of these funds to community-based organizations (CBOs) serving undocumented immigrant residents in the City of Madison.

I recognize that undocumented immigrant residents face many barriers that may make them ineligible for or limit their access to public benefits like unemployment insurance, compounding the trauma of COVID for countless families.

The City’s Community Development Division went through a process to solicit requests and input from agencies that serve undocumented immigrants and I am happy to say that eight CBOs have been awarded funds to support this population.”

State Sen. Duey Stroebel Raises Concerns

“SLFRF was created in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for the purpose of aiding state and local governments in ‘their response to and recovery from the COVID-19 public health emergency,'” Stroebel noted. “Madison acknowledges the fact that undocumented immigrants ‘are not eligible…to receive direct assistance provided by Federal and State governments’ and appears to be using the SLFRF grants as a way around the system.”

The City of Madison’s decision “to funnel money designated for pandemic relief to help non-citizens is just the latest example of the waste and abuse of federal COVID dollars,” said Stroebel.

“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,” he 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,” concluded Stroebel. “As a State Senator, it is my responsibility to be a steward of taxpayer dollars and look out for the interest of Wisconsin families. Wisconsinites deserve to know where this money is being spent and what it is being spent on. That is why, upon hearing of the City of Madison’s actions, my office has filed an open records request to investigate the City’s questionable use of SLFRF funds.”

Senator Stroebel represents the 20th Senate District which includes parts of Ozaukee, Washington, Fond du Lac, Calumet and Sheboygan Counties.

IRG’s General Counsel and Director of Oversight Jake Curtis released the following statement:

“It is troubling to learn that the City of Madison is funneling taxpayer dollars intended to help Wisconsinites to illegal immigrants. Taxpayers need answers. 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.”

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