New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Thursday defended a New York state plan to provide a $2.1 billion fund for jobless people, which would also benefit immigrants who are in the United States illegally.

A transcript is as follows:

REPORTER: On the $2.1 billion fund from the state budget that, in part, provides assistance to illegal aliens, is this a wise use of tax-payer money?

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO: I know the people benefiting are New Yorkers. Half a million of our fellow New Yorkers happen to be undocumented. They are part of our city, they are part of the life of our city. This is why long ago we provided public education, healthcare, we provide food. We don’t discriminate. So my answer is yes, this is important to do because these are families, these are human beings who are part of our community, part of our life, part of our economy. They have been suffering without a lot of the help other people have gotten. This is part of how we recover together, so I do think it was the right thing to do.

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