The progressive bastion of San Francisco may soon find itself in hot water, as civil rights lawyers claim that the city’s new monthly cash payment systems are discriminatory.
Three of the city’s guaranteed income initiatives openly exclude handouts for white citizens, only catering to blacks and other minority groups.
California’s new universal income law passed last year with bipartisan support, making the Golden State the first U.S. state to pass a guaranteed income plan, according to the Guardian.
The law allocated $35 million “for monthly cash payments to qualifying pregnant people and young adults who recently left foster care,” according to the report.
The law did not include any racial or ethnic provisions, but that has not stopped the Bay Area from using an “equity” based system that purposely excludes whites who may need a safety net, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Some experts question the legality of such arrangements. Law professor Gail Heriot of the University of San Diego School of Law is one of them.
“It’s astonishing to me how brazen the State of California and its various Bay Areas local governments have become in violating the many laws and constitutional provisions prohibiting race discrimination,” said Heriot, who is a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.
The three initiatives include the Black Economic Equity Movement, (funded by the National Institutes of Health), the Abundant Birth Project (funded by the California Department of Social Services) and the Guaranteed Income for Transgender People program (funded by the City of San Francisco).
The first program only caters to young black adults, providing $500 a month.
The birth project gives $1,000 to “Black and Pacific Islander mothers,” while the transgender program provides $1,200 a month to help trans people who hold some form of minority status.
The California social services department is openly following a “center equity” approach to distribution, encouraging grant applicants to “embed an equity-focused approach throughout each dimension” of their programs, including their “eligibility,” according to its website describing the California Guaranteed Income Pilot Program.
Civil rights lawyers argue that this approach to welfare is unconstitutional and is a violation of the 14th Amendment, which bans states from discriminating based on race.
While similar privately-funded philanthropic movements have been used as the foundation for such programs, the fact that public money is being used for such discriminatory actions has made it a constitutional issue.
David Bernstein, a professor of constitutional law at George Mason Law School, sums up the laws rather succinctly.
“The publicly funded programs are clearly unconstitutional … it’s not a close call.”
With these damaging legal questions hanging over them, the Abundant Birth Project has denied that any racial criteria are listed on their website.
The San Francisco Department of Health, the overseer of the program, assured the Free Beacon that the program is “open to all San Franciscans,” but they did acknowledge making “focused efforts” to reach black and Pacific Islander “pregnant and parenting people.”
These denials of racial favoritism fly in the face of the previous statements by those championing the new laws and initiatives.
Grant Colfax, the San Francisco Director of Health, said in a December press release that the grant would “help hundreds more Black birthing parents in California.”
San Francisco mayor London Breed, speaking of the Abundant Birth Project, implied racial favoritism by stating that it was “a model to address racial birth disparities.”
The directors of the programs did not respond to the Free Beacon’s request for comment.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.