That's how the Guardian describes the rush by illegal immigrants to get in line for California's handout of taxpayer dollars to them.
Last month, California made headlines when it announced a first-in-the-nation plan to create a $125m coronavirus relief fund for undocumented workers. But its rollout got off to a chaotic start this week, with thousands of calls flooding phone lines, creating huge delays, and so many visitors to the official website that it crashed for hours.
Adding to already overwhelmed telephone systems, the state issued last-minute directives that said callers needed to reach a live person in order to apply for aid.
Nonprofits across the state selected to distribute the money reported huge demand as people rushed to secure a spot for the first-come, first-served program.
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, or Chirla, one of 12 nonprofits tapped by the state to distribute the funds, received more than 1.1m phone calls on day one of the program – 630,000 calls just within the first 90 minutes of opening the hotline.
“We knew the number of applicants would be high, but we were just overwhelmed,” Chirla’s executive director told the New York Times.
Lucas Zucker, the policy and communications director for a nonprofit north-west of Los Angeles that advocates for social and environmental justice, wrote on Twitter that the program’s rocky rollout was predictable.
“Websites and phone lines across the state crashed. Our team saw so much frustration, anger and sadness from folks just trying to feed their kids. The need here is way too large to be met with a one-time disaster relief fund. We’re putting a Band-Aid on an open chest wound,” wrote Zucker.
. . .
Undocumented immigrants make up an estimated 10% of the state’s workforce ... [there are an] estimated 2 million undocumented immigrants living in California.
There's more at the link.
Note the last paragraph cited above. I daresay the sheer volume of calls demanding a share of that money gives the lie to the 2 million estimate. (My law enforcement contacts in California privately estimate the number of illegal aliens there to be at least 5 million, possibly more. They base that on their experience of traffic stops, criminal investigations, and so on. I believe them.)
Of course, the state of California should not be rewarding illegal aliens for their presence with taxpayer dollars. That's flatly insane, and can do nothing except encourage further illegal entry (which is probably the point, given the nature and policies of that state's government). However, this stampede for assistance highlights the economic plight of the marginally employed. We've already seen that many are apparently returning to Mexico under the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. They have no jobs there, and Mexico has few (if any) social assistance or entitlement programs to help them. Those who remain in this country aren't eligible for the federal government's assistance or stimulus package, yet are also at risk of losing their jobs not just temporarily, but in the long term, as the economy contracts. To say that they're becoming desperate is to put it mildly.
What does this forbode for social stability? I don't think it's anything good. I expect demonstrations, even riots, in California as the illegals demand more sustenance to which they're not legally entitled (at least, not under federal law). I expect California's government to cave in to their demands, and expend more taxpayer funds on them. That, in turn, will arouse resentment and anger among taxpayers, who see their money being wasted on those who have no right to it. I don't think that's going to end well.
Will this have an impact on the November 2020 elections in that state? Is the special election there earlier this month an early "canary in a coal mine" for a sea change in California politics? Who knows? We can but hope . . .