California defies Trump and offers unemployment benefits to federal workers working without pay

California Governor Gavin Newsom is reportedly planning to offer federal workers unemployment benefits during the ongoing government shutdown — a direct rebuke of the Trump administration which has ordered states to do the opposite.

According to Newsom, the U.S. Department of Labor sent a letter to the state ordering it to not provide unemployment benefits to federal workers who are required to work without pay.

Calling the letter “jaw dropping and extraordinary,” Newsom said that his state will go against the Trump administration’s wishes.

“So, the good news is, we’re going to do it, and shame on them,” Newsom said during a meeting with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees, according to NPR.

Newsom says the state has a strong legal precedent for the move.

Speaking to NPR, TSA employee Miguel Pagarigan said he doesn’t know how long he can go without pay.

“Because of the shutdown and being furloughed — or basically, not being paid — I had to put a ‘for sale’ sign on my house on Sunday,” Pagarigan said, beginning to cry as he spoke.

As NPR points out, the Trump administration hasn’t expressed any opposition to benefits for federal workers who aren’t required to show up for work during the shutdown.

President Trump has been unwavering in his demand for the $5.7 billion for his long-promised border wall on the US-Mexico border. Trump says there’s currently a “crisis” at the border, but the data disputes that claim. Forbes reported last year that in December 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) declared that illegal entry in the United States had reached historically low levels.

In 2018, illegal cross-border migration was only about 11% higher than the same point the year before, with even the Trump administration admitting that 2017 was the “lowest level” on record.

Featured image via Joanne Wan/Flickr

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