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Newsom announces $125 million fund to help undocumented immigrants impacted by virus

Governor Newsom announced Wednesday a statewide public-private partnership that will provide $125 million in disaster relief assistance for working, undocumented immigrants. 

The state will provide $75 million in disaster relief assistance and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, a network of foundations focused on immigration issues, have committed to raising an additional $50 million.

Those interested in supporting this fund can donate at www.immigrantfundCA.org.

The partnership will provide financial support to undocumented immigrants impacted by coronavirus who are not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits and disaster relief, including the CARES Act, due to their immigration status.

“California is the most diverse state in the nation. Our diversity makes us stronger and more resilient. Every Californian, including our undocumented neighbors and friends, should know that California is here to support them during this crisis. We are all in this together,” said Governor Newsom.

According to the Governor's office, approximately 150,000 undocumented adult Californians will receive a one-time cash benefit of $500 per adult with a cap of $1,000 per household to deal with the specific needs.

Individuals can apply for support beginning next month. Those will questions locally are urged to contact TODEC in the east valley. 

The fund will be dispersed through a community-based model of regional nonprofits with expertise and experience serving undocumented communities.

Organizers began raising money on Friday and have raised more than $6 million so far, with contributions from the Emerson Collective, Blue Shield of California Foundation, the California Endowment, the James Irvine Foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and an anonymous donor.

“During this moment of national crisis, undocumented immigrants are risking their own health on behalf of the rest of us, saving lives as health care workers; caring for our loved ones; and growing much of the food we depend on,” said Laurene Powell Jobs, Founder and President of Emerson Collective. “With the federal government and so many states failing to provide undocumented immigrants the economic and health supports all Americans deserve, I hope that corporations, foundations and individuals across the country will join us in providing the emergency relief these members of our community need to weather this challenging time.”

Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove said Newsom should spend the money instead on food banks, equipment for students to continue their education online and local governments struggling with revenue losses.

"Instead of meeting these urgent needs, Governor Newsom has chosen to irresponsibly pursue a left-wing path and unilaterally secured $125 million for undocumented immigrants,” said Grove, who represents Bakersfield.

California has an estimated 2.2 million immigrants living in the country illegally, the most of any state, according to the Pew Research Center. State officials won't decide who gets the money. Instead, the state will give the money to a network of regional nonprofits to find and vet potential recipients. Advocates say that's key to making the plan work because immigrants are unlikely to contact the government for fear of deportation.

“You need to use organizations that have trusted relationships with these families,” said Jacqueline Martinez, CEO of the Latino Community Foundation.

California has also developed an immigrant resource guide to provide information about available coronavirus-related assistance, including public benefits.

Coronavirus / News Headlines / Top Stories
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Madison Weil

Madison Weil joined the KESQ News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 News Team in June 2018. Learn more about Madison here.

Jesus Reyes

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