California to begin distributing disaster relief money for undocumented immigrants

California
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Financial help for undocumented migrants in California is set to become available on Monday, more than a month after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the initiative.

Those who are 18 and older and can prove they have lost wages and other income due to COVID-19 are eligible to receive a one-time payment of $500, with a limit of $1,000 per family.

Recipients of the aid don’t qualify for federal pandemic and unemployment assistance because of their immigration status.

The state of California has pledged $75 million to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants program, with another $50 million being raised by private contributions and donations.

The state hopes to help an estimated 150,000 undocumented immigrants.

The money will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis starting from Monday, May 18, until no funding is left — or until June 30 at the latest.

“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 announcing the first-in-the-nation program on April 15.

Twelve private organizations and nonprofits statewide have been chosen to find recipients and distribute the money. Applicants may begin contacting these organizations about aid on Monday.

In Southern California, those organizations are, by county:

Los Angeles, OrangeAsian Americans Advancing Justice213-241-8880advancingjustice-la.org
Los Angeles, OrangeCoalition for Humane Immigrant Rights – CHIRLA213-201-8700chirla.org
Los AngelesCentral American Resource Center – CARECEN213-315-2659carecen-la.org/drai
Riverside, San BernardinoSan Bernardino Community Service Center888-444-0170sbcscinc.org 
Riverside, San BernardinoTODEC Legal Center Perris888-863-3291 TODEC.org
Ventura
Mixteco/
Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP)
805-519-7774mixteco.org/drai/

Details on the program are on the state Department of Social Services website.

There has been opposition to the distribution of the money, and two unsuccessful court challenges.

The Virginia-based Center for American Liberty sought an emergency stay of the program from the California Supreme Court, claiming unemployment benefits may not be conferred to those in the country illegally, and that the fund constituted a gift of taxpayer money.

The court on May 6 rejected the group’s petition. Border Report reached out for comment from the Center for American Liberty but has yet to hear back.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge on May 5 similarly rejected a request from the conservative group Judicial Watch to stop the program, according to the Associated Press. That complaint argued Newsom lacked explicit authority from state lawmakers to provide the money.

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