California is home to more than 2 million undocumented immigrants who aren’t eligible to receive unemployment or stimulus checks from the government.
But the state has set up funding to help support them during the coronavirus crisis, providing $125 million through a public-private partnership. It’s been touted as the first fund of its kind to support undocumented immigrants. The state will contribute $75 million to the fund, with the remaining $50 million coming from private philanthropic partners.
A group of 12 immigrant-focused nonprofits across the state will help roughly 150,000 undocumented adults impacted by the virus apply for the funds. The application period begins Monday and runs through June 30.
The one-time payments will be $500 per adult, with a cap of $1,000 per household.
Applicants will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis and must reach out to the organization that is serving their county. They must:
— be at least 18 years old and undocumented
— be ineligible for federal COVID-19 relief like the CARES Act
— have experienced a hardship due to the virus
Catholic Charities is the nonprofit organization covering six counties of the Bay Area. The hotline for residents of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara residents is 1-866-490-3899. You can find hotline numbers for other counties on the state’s website.
Beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, hotline operators will begin assisting applicants with the process.
The program will run through June 30 or until the funding is totally spent.
Nearly one tenth of California’s workforce is undocumented, and Gov. Gavin Newsom noted in announcing the program that the group is overrepresented in sectors deemed essential in the pandemic, such as healthcare, agriculture and food services and manufacturing. He added that undocumented immigrants contributed $2.5 billion in state and local taxes last year, but they cannot benefit directly from state taxes because of their status.
Conservative groups have sued to stop the state from dispensing the public funds to undocumented immigrants, arguing it is barred by both state and federal law. But it appears the fund will go ahead as planned.
For more information on the fund, visit the state’s website, which includes answers to frequently asked questions.
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