- Gov. Gavin Newsom of California has announced an initiative to provide coronavirus relief funds to workers living in the US illegally.
- Roughly 150,000 such workers could get $US500 each in support.
- Applications open next month, with the process meant to be handled by local nonprofits and not the government directly.
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Unauthorised immigrants living in California are set to receive coronavirus-related financial aid, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday.
The state’s new $US75 million Disaster Relief Fund will allow about 150,000 eligible adults in the state to receive $US500 each, according to a statement from the governor. There will be a $US1,000 cap per household, and people can begin applying for the aid next month, the statement said.
This makes California the first state to offer financial support to unauthorised workers.
According to the Public Policy Institute of California, an estimated 2.35 million to 2.6 million immigrants were living in California illegally in 2014.
The Associated Press on Thursday quoted Newsom as saying that California received more than $US2.5 billion in local and states taxes last year from the state’s unauthorised workers.
Immigrants living in the US illegally do not qualify for the $US1,200 coronavirus relief checks that are part of the $US2 trillion federal relief law known as the CARES Act.
“California is the most diverse state in the nation,” Newsom said in the statement. “Our diversity makes us stronger and more resilient. Every Californian, including our undocumented neighbours and friends, should know that California is here to support them during this crisis. We are all in this together.”
The money will be given to “regional nonprofits with expertise and experience serving undocumented communities,” according to the statement.
Advocates told the AP that workers without legal residency were unlikely to seek assistance from the government over fears they could be deported.
The statement said organisations in the Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees network had pledged to raise an additional $US50 million to financially support the families of unauthorised immigrants.
“You need to use organisations that have trusted relationships with these families,” Jacqueline Martinez, the CEO of the Latino Community Foundation, told the AP.
The additional funds could help as many as 100,000 people assuming the same $US500-a-person amount, though the AP said those funds were likely to be less restrictive, meaning the amounts could vary.
“We want this to be as equitable as possible and benefit as many people as possible,” Daranee Petsod, the president of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, told the AP.
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