On Wednesday Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that about 150,000 undocumented workers in California will receive a one-time cash payment of between $500 and $1,000, as part of a $125 million disaster relief fund created to help immigrant families impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Newsom said 10% of the state’s workforce is undocumented and many are employed in sectors tasked with meeting the essential needs of Californians, including healthcare, agriculture and food, manufacturing, logistics and construction. Undocumented workers can begin applying for the cash relief next month. Each adult will receive $500 through the program, with a $1,000 cap per household, Newsom’s office reported.
“We feel a deep sense of gratitude for people who are in fear of deportation, but are still addressing the essential needs of tens of millions of Californians,” Newsom said.
The disaster relief fund for undocumented immigrants, a combination of $75 million from the state and another $50 million from philanthropic partners, is the first-of-its-kind in the nation. The funding will provide aid to those who are ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits and disaster relief because of their immigration status. Newsom said last year undocumented workers paid more than $2.5 billion in state and local taxes.
“This is a state that steps up always to support those in need regardless of status,” Newsom said at his daily coronavirus briefing Wednesday.
The state’s Disaster Relief Fund will be dispersed through a community-based model of regional nonprofits who are experienced with serving undocumented communities. Newsom said personal information from undocumented workers will not be required in order to take advantage of the financial support.
More information on the disaster relief assistance for undocumented immigrants can be found at covid19.ca.gov. Information is also available in Spanish, with additional languages being added soon.