In One State, Undocumented Immigrants Get Virus Relief

California has the first such initiative in the US
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2020 12:11 PM CDT

(Newser) – Undocumented immigrants in California worried they can't pay their bills during the pandemic are starting to see some relief, thanks to a $75 million assistance program that launched Monday. Each adult applicant on the Social Services website can receive $500, with a cap of $1,000 per household. The money, available on a first-come, first-served basis, will be doled out until June 30, unless it runs out before that. KTLA notes this is the first state-funded initiative to help undocumented immigrants weather the pandemic. Some groups sued to keep the program at bay, saying using taxpayer dollars for it was illegal, but those suits were dismissed.

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Just an hour after the program's phones were opened Monday, the lines crashed from so many people calling in, notes the New York Times, which adds that undocumented immigrants "pay billions of dollars in taxes," yet have received little help from the states during the pandemic. California officials expect about 150,000 people to benefit from the program, though the LA Times notes that what the state is calling a "second but complementary effort" is also underway: The California Immigrant Resilience Fund, an initiative launched by nonprofits to raise $50 million for those undocumented immigrants who don't qualify for either federal or state assistance. Further info here. (Read more California stories.)

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