SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday announced $125 million state relief program that will provide financial assistance to undocumented immigrants during the coronavirus pandemic.
Newsom said the program, the first of its kind in the nation, will include $75 million in state funding and another $50 million donated by various organizations and foundations, including The California Endowment, Blue Shield of California Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
“California is the most diverse state in the nation,” Newsom said. “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 the fund will benefit undocumented immigrants who are ineligible for unemployment benefits and will not receive federal stimulus checks from the IRS. He said about 150,000 people will receive a one-time benefit of $500 — with a cap of $1,000 per household. Additional funding will be available to support the families of undocumented immigrants.
“Today’s announcement is a necessary first step to close the widening gap between immigrants and vital assistance that could mean the difference between life and death for millions of Californians,” said Pablo Alvarado, co-director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. “… Our hope is that the actions taken by Governor Newsom today will catalyze public and private partnerships to encourage additional measures to ensure that all people in California — regardless of immigration status — receive equal protection under the law.”
California has developed an immigrant resource guide to provide information about COVID-19 related assistance, including public benefits, that are available to immigrant Californians. [View the guide here.]
Newsom last week announced that California is seeking to take appropriate steps to ensure care and treatment for COVID-19 for its residents, regardless of immigration status. Deeming COVID-19 testing and related treatment services as an emergency will entitle all Medi-Cal beneficiaries, regardless of their scope of coverage under Medi-Cal or their documentation status, to receive all medically necessary inpatient or outpatient services related to a COVID-19 diagnosis.
A copy of the Governor’s executive order can be found here.