Things That Matter

Colorado Organization Raises Money To Offer Relief Checks To Undocumented People In The State

Undocumented people are being left out of relief funds provided by the U.S. government. A lack of a Social Security number is why so many people have been denied relief assistance as the country grapples with an evergrowing number of COVID-19 cases. Organizations and states are stepping up to bridge that gap and give undocumented people a chance to make it through this crisis.

The Village Exchange Center in northern Aurora, Colorado is raising money to help undocumented families in Colorado.

The U.S. Congress passed an initial relief package of $2.2 trillion that came with $1,200 checks for all eligible Americans. One community left out is the undocumented community because they do not have Social Security numbers. This leaves millions of peoples without any financial safety net exacerbating the problems imposed by this pandemic.

The Village Exchange Center has sent 250 undocumented residents $1,000 checks.

According to Sentinel, the Village Exchange Center teamed received funds from the Denver Foundation, the Rose Community Foundation in Glendale, a third anonymous donor, and 30 individual donors. The $250,000 was already dispatched to the recipients chosen by the Village Exchange Center through money transfers or checks, depending on whether or not the recipient had a bank account.

This was the Village Exchange Center’s first round of COVID-19 relief payments to Colorado’s undocumented community.

The organization chose those who would receive the payments based on those who were laid off from jobs at restaurants, hotels, and other service industry jobs.

“They have no access to unemployment, they will not be getting a stimulus check or any other form of assistance, even though most of them pay taxes,” Mark Newhouse, a trustee at the Denver Foundation, told Sentinel. which helped build the fund. “And so, we quickly raised a quarter of a million dollars to run a pilot across the state.”

The organization is basing its work on the actions of California.

On April 15, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a state fund created to offer undocumented people relief funds. Gov. Newsom allocated $75 million in taxpayer money to give to undocumented people living in California. There are an estimated 2.2 million undocumented immigrants who live in California. Undocumented people contribute more than $10 billion in taxes to the federal government when they file each year. Gov. Newsom’s administration has been sending undocumented people $500 checks to help ease their COVID-19 economic impact.

“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,” Gov. Newsom said according to The Associated Press. The governor continued by acknowledging that 10 percent of California’s workforce is undocumented. Gov. Newsom also highlighted that undocumented workers in California paid $2.5 billion in local and state taxes last year.

The Village Exchange Center is currently raising more money to offer to more undocumented people living in Colorado.

The first round of money was already distributed but the application for the next round of money will be available when the funds are secured. According to Sentinel, there were 180,000 undocumented people who lived in Colorado. The Village Exchange Center’s goal is to raise enough money to give each undocumented people in Colorado a $1,000 check to ease the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Mexico Wants American Tourists Despite Ongoing Covid Pandemic

Culture

Mexico Wants American Tourists Despite Ongoing Covid Pandemic

VV Nincic / Flickr

Covid-19 has ended a lot of stuff for a lot of people. The most obvious change has been to international travel, especially for Americans. As the virus has spread widely across the U.S. countries have put a halt to allowing American tourist within their border, but not Mexico.

Covid-19 has severly depreciated the American passport.

Once capable of unlocking so many countries, the U.S. passport is no longer helping Americans travel abroad. Instead, the American passport has now become a hindrance for global travelers. Most countries have placed restrictions on American tourists making the U.S. passport one of the weakest.

The countries banning the U.S. are doing so because of the state of the virus in the country.

There have been more than 7 million cases of Covid-19 and more than 200,000 deaths from the virus. The U.S. remains the worst hit country and the global epicenter of the deadly virus. Many blame the lack of a national strategy to properly close down, test citizens, and contact trace those who have been exposed as the reason the virus has been so devastating in the U.S.

The various travel bans have kept families apart.

Other nations went into mush stricter lockdowns that the U.S. and got a handle of the virus. European countries have gotten the virus under control after months and the U.S. continues to see a large number of new cases daily.

One of the countries allowing Americans to visit is Mexico.

Mexico is heavily reliant on the money made from the tourism industry. According to official statistics, the tourism industry is the third-largest contributor to the country’s GDP. Major tourist destinations like Cabo and Cancún saw dramatic dips in tourism leading to national and local figures to sound the alarm. According to The Washington Post, the questions was posed about when to allow the tourists from the U.S. back, not should they.

Los Cabos is one of the hardest-hit tourist destinations.

The tourist destination saw a severe decline in tourists during one of the busiest times of the year. According to The Washington Post, the resort city has lost 80 percent of its revenue because of Covid-19. The virus has brought financial devastation to people across the world and the cities they live in aren’t immune to failing themselves.

“It’s life or death for us,” Rodrigo Esponda, the head of the Los Cabos tourism board, told The Washington Post. “There’s nothing else here. No industrial production. No farming or commercial fishing. It’s tourism or nothing.”

Yet, Los Cabos should be a warning sign to the rest of Mexico.

Cases in Baja California, the state where Los Cabos is located, saw new Covid case numbers triple from 50 a day to 150. The increase in infections is to be expected as the state rolled out the welcome mat for Americans coming to visit the resort town.

“There are some residents who say, ‘Why put my family’s life in danger by inviting more visitors, restarting more flights?’” Luis Humberto Araiza López, tourism minister of Baja California Sur, told The Washington Post. “It’s a delicate line between trying to support public health and economic growth.”

Despite this, there are some countries that Americans can travel to.

The countries Americans can travel to without Covid restrictions are Albania, Belarus, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Mexico, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, and Zambia. As the world continues to open up, Americans who travel abroad are waiting for the U.S. government to get the virus under control. Until then, the U.S. passport is not the same it used to be.

READ: The U.S. Passport Was Once The World’s Strongest, It’s Fallen To 25th Place Thanks To Failed Leadership Amid Coronavirus

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New York Times Square New Years Eve Celebration Canceled

Culture

New York Times Square New Years Eve Celebration Canceled

Stefano / Flickr

For the first time in 114 years, the Times Square New Years Eve party has been canceled. The famous New Year’s Eve gathering is a major part of the New Year’s Eve celebration with people cramming into Times Square to watch the ball drop to mark the new year. This year, everything about the celebration is changing because of Covid.

New Year’s Eve in Times Square has been canceled.

The in-person celebration with crowds packing into the intersection to watch the ball drop is going virtual. Like the Emmys earlier this month, and countless other events, the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration is all virtual. The decision to cancel the in-person part of the Times Square Ball Drop is, well, Covid, of course.

“One thing that will never change is the ticking of time and the arrival of a New Year at midnight on December 31st,” Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, said in a statement. “But this year there will be significantly new and enhanced virtual, visual and digital offerings to complement whatever limited live entertainment or experiences – still in development — will take place in Times Square. And because any opportunity to be live in Times Square will be pre-determined and extremely limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be the opportunity to participate virtually wherever you are.”

We still don’t have a lot of details about the virtual aspect of New Year’s Eve, we are all waiting.

According to a statement, the organizers realize that Covid has been the dominating force of 2020. The celebration always includes aspects of the major events from the previous year into the experience. The socially distanced handful of honorees and lack of an audience is a clear representation of the still real Covid crisis.

Some people are really upset about the decision to cancel the celebration.

It is one of those iconic moments so many people dream of doing. It is a once-in-a-lifetime moment for so many. The Times Square Ball Drop is something that most Americans recognize thanks to the dominant role the ball drop played on New Year’s Eve growing up. It is basically tradition to have the NYE party playing on the TV.

New Yorkers are confused about why anyone would want to do that.

New Yorkers avoid Times Square at all costs. It isn’t a convenient or super enjoyable part of town. It is packed with tourists who don’t know where they are going and NYE is about the worst it gets for Times Square. Now, the ball drop is impressive and something so many people consider an iconic moment in the holiday celebration.

“We will miss everyone this year but we will bring our celebration to you, whether you want to turn off and turn away from the bad news of 2020, or turn to the new year with a sense of hope, renewal and resolution, you’ll be able to join us virtually like never before as part of the Times Square 2021 celebration,” Jeff Straus, President of Countdown Entertainment, said in a statement.

But, mainly, people just want 2020 to be over.

This year has been a hard year for so many. People have lost their jobs and their loved ones as the virus runs through the U.S. Covid-19 is still a real threat to people, especially the vulnerable population.

READ: Nearly 9,000 Unaccompanied Child Migrants Have Been Expelled From the U.S. Under Trump’s COVID-19 Restrictions

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