California is the first state to offer 150,000 undocumented immigrants $500 in financial relief during coronavirus pandemic

California is the first state to offer 150,000 undocumented immigrants $500 in financial relief during coronavirus pandemic

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks in front of the hospital ship USNS Mercy that arrived into the Port of Los Angeles on March 27.

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom announced an initiative to provide undocumented workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic financial support.
  • Roughly 150,000 undocumented workers could get $500 in support.
  • Applications open next month, and the process will be handled by local non-profits not the government directly.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Undocumented immigrants in California impacted by the coronavirus pandemic will receive some financial aid, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday.

Around 150,000 undocumented adults in the state will receive $500 from California's $75 million Disaster Relief Fund, according to a statement from the governor. There will be a $1,000 cap for each household, and people can begin applying for the aid next month.

This makes California the first state to impose a measure offering financial support to undocumented workers.

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, the state had at least 2.3 million undocumented immigrants in 2014.


The state received more than $2.5 billion in local and states taxes last year from 10% of the state's workforce that are undocumented, according to the Associated Press.

The measure is meant to fill the gap for undocumented workers who did not qualify for the $1,200 stimulus check part of the $2 trillion relief bill known as the CARES Act that Congress passed in March.

"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," Newsom said in the letter.

The money will be given to "regional nonprofits with expertise and experience serving undocumented communities," according to the statement.

Advocates told the AP, that undocumented workers are unlikely to seek assistance from the government over fears that they could be deported.


Beyond the $75 million in the Disaster Relief Fund, organizations in the Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) network have pledged to raise $50 million to financially support the families of undocumented immigrants directly "through the California Immigrant Resilience Fund, with initial lead investments of $5.5 million from Emerson Collective, Blue Shield of California Foundation, The California Endowment, The James Irvine Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and an anonymous donor."

"You need to use organizations that have trusted relationships with these families," Jacqueline Martinez, CEO of the Latino Community Foundation told the AP.

According to the AP, the additional funds gathered could help an additional 100,000 people, and they are likely to be less restrictive meaning a person can get more or less than $500 depending on their area's cost of living.

"We want this to be as equitable as possible and benefit as many people as possible," Daranee Petsod, president of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, told the AP.

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