The State of California is offering $500 each to illegal aliens as part of a $75 million coronavirus relief program — even as it asks federal taxpayers for help paying for its $54 billion deficit.

The program, which launched on Monday, saw phone lines jammed as “undocumented immigrants,” who are ineligible for the federal aid provided thus far, called a state hotline.

The New York Times reported:

Within minutes after the phone lines opened, many people reported they could not get through, and by 10 a.m., an hour after it opened, many of the phone lines crashed.

The $75 million cash assistance program, awarded on a first-come first-served basis, was being conducted almost entirely by telephone to avoid hazardous in-person contacts.

The available funding will allow only about 150,000 immigrants to benefit, according to state officials.

The governor, Gavin Newsom, announced in mid-April that the state would provide $75 million in cash assistance to the 150,000 who are selected. Philanthropic organizations and private donors pledged an additional $50 million, for another 100,000 immigrants.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom told CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union on Sunday that the federal government has a “moral” and “ethical” obligation to fund ailing state and local governments. He added that Republicans who did not provide such funding would be short-changing “our heroes, our first responders, our police officers, and firefighters.”

Notably, Newsom discussed “citizens,” not “residents,” in describing the beneficiaries of federal aid to the states: “We have an obligation, a moral, an ethical obligation to American citizens all across this country to help support cities, states and counties,” he said.

Neither Newsom nor Tapper addressed the issue of California’s “sanctuary” laws, which limit cooperation with federal immigration law enforcement. President Donald Trump has commented that he might make lifting “sanctuary” laws a condition of receiving federal aid.