COVID-19: California to give each undocumented immigrant $500 as Coronavirus relief

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California will give one-time cash payments of $500 to undocumented immigrants in the state, Governor Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday.

The payments will be funded by a $75 million Disaster Relief Fund and will be distributed through a community-based model of regional nonprofits with experience serving undocumented communities

“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 a statement.

California has an estimated 2 million immigrants living in the country illegally. They are not eligible for the $2.2 trillion stimulus package approved by Congress last month, which gives $1,200 cash payments to most Americans plus boosts unemployment benefits by $600 per week.

“We feel a deep sense of gratitude for people that are in fear of deportations that are still addressing essential needs of tens of millions of Californians,” said Newsom, who noted 10% of the state’s workforce are immigrants living in the country illegally who paid more than $2.5 billion in state and local taxes last year.

A group of charities has also committed to raise another $50 million for a total of $125 million. Some organizations, including the Emerson Collective, Blue Shield of California Foundation, the California Endowment, the James Irvine Foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and an anonymous donor, have already donated $5.5 million of the money, according to reports.

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Newsom said the money will not be distributed based on income. “Their personal information will not be required to get those support,” he said.

Undocumented immigrants will be able to apply for the money beginning in May.

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