Posted on March 19, 2024

Migrants Could Get $500 a Month Under New Bill

Nick Mordowanec, Newsweek, March 15, 2024

Minnesota Democrats are pushing forward with a $500 statewide guaranteed basic income plan that critics have argued would give free money to undocumented migrants.

The new statewide legislation, known as HF 2666 and introduced on March 8, would provide $500 monthly payments for 18 to 24 months “to eligible recipients in order to disrupt poverty, build wealth, advance equity, and support a recipient’s basic needs.”

Those eligible must be at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty level. The bill, approved March 12 by the House Children and Families Finance and Policy Committee, would be paid for with a one-time $100 million appropriation from the state general fund in fiscal year 2025.

The state has passed such legislation previously but on a relatively smaller scale. The city of St. Paul tested guaranteed basic income as part of a pilot program that lasted more than one year and provided 150 residents $500 a month. Minneapolis is currently conducting its own pilot plan.

“I do think that it’s important that we extend this…to individuals who may not have documentation,” Democratic state Representative Athena Hollins, who authored the legislation, said during a legislative hearing on March 12.

Hollins referred to the St. Paul pilot program and how residents were given monthly payments, some of whom left the city, moved to the suburbs, and remained a part of that program upon exit.

St. Paul’s People’s Prosperity Guaranteed Income Pilot was conducted between October 2020 and April 2022, providing 150 families with $500 per month in guaranteed “no-strings-attached” income for a period of 18 months.

A study by the Center for Guaranteed Income Research (CGIR) at the University of Pennsylvania found that the unconditional monies were correlated to improved financial health, sense of self, and economic mobility.

Minneapolis’ pilot program began in June 2022 and guaranteed basic income for 200 households who receive payment once a month for a two-year period that ends this June and can be spent however families choose.


Critics such as Republican state Representative Walter Hudson said it remains unclear whether restrictions would clarify how nonprofits could spend the money, or who would receive it due to the bill prohibiting possible benefactors from providing proof of income, residency, citizenship or other identifying information.

“This program very explicitly would provide support to illegal immigrants or persons claiming to be someone other than they actually are,” Hudson said on Tuesday. “We’re not even going to question that, there’s not going to be any documentation whatsoever.”