CA lawmakers considering relief for undocumented immigrants excluded from federal stimulus bill

California
A view of the California State Capitol on Feb. 19, 2009, in Sacramento. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A view of the California State Capitol on Feb. 19, 2009, in Sacramento. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that he and the state legislature are considering financial relief for undocumented immigrants who are ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits extended by the federal stimulus package.

Newsom did not offer specific details when asked at a COVID-19 news conference about a possible emergency fund directly paid to Californians who are undocumented, but he confirmed that it’s among the various economic strategies lawmakers are exploring.

He described the exclusion of many families in the CARES Act emergency package a “real concern for us.”

A group of more than 125 organizations representing California workers in late March sent the governor a letter requesting the state fill gaps in protections for workers left out by the federal government’s response to the pandemic.

Newsom said his office is analyzing ways to respond to the challenges faced by undocumented residents during the outbreak.

“Yes, all of that is being considered,” Newsom said when asked about relief for undocumented immigrants. “[It’s] all part of a broader package where I’ll be making some significant adjustments to the January budget proposal and advancing at the same time some economic stimulus strategies at a state level, not just waiting for the federal government to do that for us.”

Immigrant workers who don’t have Social Security numbers file taxes through what’s called an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. It accounted for more than $13.6 billion in taxes in 2015, according to CNN.

But applicants who want to apply for federal unemployment insurance benefits must have federal work authorization, KQED reports.

In California, immigrants who are undocumented contribute about $3 billion in state and local taxes, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

In Los Angeles County, undocumented immigrants are also ineligible for unemployment insurance but may qualify for disability insurance and paid family leave, officials said. The county’s website has more information about local resources available to immigrants.

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