US

Phone Lines Crashed One Hour After California Allowed Illegal Aliens To Apply For Coronavirus Aid

Shutterstock/ARIMAG

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
Font Size:

One hour after California allowed illegal aliens to apply for cash assistance, many phone lines involved in the program crashed due to the high volume of calls.

Monday marked the first day that illegal aliens living in California could apply for The Disaster Relief Fund, a $125 million initiative by the state that provides one-time cash payments to undocumented immigrants who otherwise would not qualify for federal assistance.

If call volume is any indication, the program is immensely popular among California’s illegal alien population.

Many individuals reported that they could not get through just minutes after phone lines opened up, according to the New York Times. By 10 a.m. local time, one hour after the phones officially opened to the public, many of the lines crashed.

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 16: California Gov. Gavin Newsom looks on during a news conference with California attorney General Xavier Becerra at the California State Capitol on August 16, 2019 in Sacramento, California. California attorney genera Xavier Becerra and California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the State of California is suing the Trump administration challenging the legality of a new "public charge" rule that would make it difficult for immigrants to obtain green cards who receive public assistance like food stamps and Medicaid. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom looks on during a news conference with California attorney General Xavier Becerra at the California State Capitol on August 16, 2019 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“The phone lines were completely saturated,” Adolfo Luna, a Mexican national living illegally in the U.S., said to the New York Times about the calls. Like many other illegal aliens in the state, Luna is hoping to get a slice of the cash being given away by the California government.

However, after spending hours on Monday trying to call, Luna said he realized that scoring the coronavirus aid was akin to “winning the lottery,” according to the New York Times. After so many attempts, Luna eventually approached a nonprofit group, and they allowed him to place his name and number onto a list with the promise that he’d get a call in two days to fill out an application. (RELATED: Democrats Across The Country Are Fighting To Give Coronavirus Aid To Illegal Aliens)

“I am hopeful that I will get to sign up,” Luna said.

Roughly 630,000 calls were made to the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, one of 12 nonprofit groups tapped by the state to vet applicants, in the first 90 minutes. The group’s phone lines became jammed, and a recording asked callers to make another attempt at a later time.

Eligible illegal aliens may apply for the aid through June 30, or until funds run out.

The fund — a joint public-private partnership that takes $75 million from state taxpayers and another $50 million from philanthropic organizations — will dole out $500 to individuals and as much as $1,000 per household. The program is intended to provide financial assistance to the undocumented community amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The funds are being distributed on a first-come first-serve basis, prompting a huge rush in calls. State officials say the program will be able to pay cash to 150,000 illegal aliens in total.

“We knew the number of applicants would be high, but we were just overwhelmed,” Angelica Salas, the executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said of the situation. Applications were being conducted over the phone to circumvent dangerous in-person contacts.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.