Things That Matter

Undocumented Immigrants In California Can Now Apply For COVID-19 Financial Assistance

Update May 20, 2020, 9:16 p.m. PST: Undocumented immigrants in the U.S. have been left in the dark when it comes to government assistance to weather the COVID-19 crisis. Yet, California has set aside $75 million to offer aid to undocumented immigrants living in the state.

Undocumented Californians can apply for a one-time relief payment from the state government.

California Governor Gavin Newsom created a fund to help ease the financial burden of the health crisis on 150,000 undocumented people living in the state. Those who qualify are eligible for one-time payments of $500 and up to $1,000 total per household. The fund was created to help undocumented people who are being left out of federal relief payments.

“We know that money is limited and doesn’t reflect the amount of taxes that the undocumented pay in California,” Olimpia Blanco, a coordinator at Carecen, told The New York Times. “We believe we owe it to the community to make the process as equitable as possible and uphold the first-come, first-served nature of it.”

The relief payments will help millions of children living with undocumented parents.

The children, while U.S. citizens, are not eligible for federal funds because of their age. California’s plans are a way to bridge that gap created by the federal government to relieve as many people living in the U.S. as possible. Undocumented people contribute billions of dollars to the U.S. in taxes every year. These tax dollars are what is being used to fund the federal $2.2 trillion stimulus package that has bailed out major corporations.

California is one of a handful of states that are implementing programs to help their undocumented communities stay afloat during the pandemic. In other states, cities and organizations have picked up the responsibility of helping their undocumented community.

Original: In March, the federal government passed a record $2.2 trillion stimulus plan meant to help dampen the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. Part of the stimulus bill included $1,200 cash payments to all eligible U.S. residents – however, the bill left out millions of tax-paying migrants.

Since the bill passed, Democratic lawmakers in Congress have tried to introduce additional legislation that would provide relief to vulernable undocumented populations – many of whom are working in jobs deemed “essential” by state and local governments. But so far they’ve come up short.

California becomes the first state in the country to introduce Coronavirus relief funds to undocumented residents.

During his daily press briefing, Newsom said the state is committing $125 million to undocumented workers through a public-private partnership, that will include $75 million in state funds for disaster relief assistance and additional $50 million pledged by a group of philanthropic partners.

“Even if there’s gaps, we can help begin to fill them,” Newsom said. “I’m not here to suggest that $125 million is enough. But I am here to suggest that it’s a good start and I’m very proud it’s starting here in the state of California.”

Approximately 150,000 undocumented adult Californians will receive a one-time cash benefit of $500 from the state fund, with a cap of $1,000 per household, to deal with “specific needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a release from the governor’s office.

Undocumented residents pay billions in taxes but up until have been ineligible for any financial aid.

In announcing the move, Newsom stressed that undocumented workers are essential and overrepresented in many sectors keeping the state afloat, including health care, agriculture and food, manufacturing and logistics and construction.

It’s estimated that about 10% of California’s workforce is undocumented. And though they paid over $2.5 billion in local and state taxes last year, they benefit from neither unemployment insurance nor the $2.2 trillion stimulus signed by President Trump. Private donors to the $50 million philanthropy effort include the Emerson Collective, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, James Irvine Foundation, California Endowment and Blue Shield Foundation, Newsom said. 

Since the pandemic hit California, other grassroots financial assistance programs for undocumented workers affected by COVID-19-related job losses have been created in San Francisco and Sonoma CountyA relief fund for local migrant youth was launched in Santa Clara, San Mateo, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and Alameda counties and recently reopened its application process.

Immigrant advocate groups quickly applauded the state’s efforts.

Credit: @NILC / Twitter

“This virus doesn’t discriminate — it doesn’t care about race, class, or wealth. Our response to this crisis shouldn’t either. California is leading at a time when Congress should be doing more for immigrants in #COVID19 relief efforts,” the National Immigration Law Center said on Facebook.

“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,” the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) said in a statement Wednesday.

Gov. Newsom also announced measures meant to support the growing population of unemployed residents.

Credit: Thomas Ellington / Flickr

The state Employment Development Department has received a record 2.7 million new claims for regular jobless benefits since March 12. When you put that into comparison against the Great Recession in 2008, there were a total of 2.5 million unemployment claims.

The new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program approved by Congress will provide up to 39 weeks of benefits retroactive to Feb. 2 for those who have lost income between that date and the week ending Dec.31. The program also will provide an additional $600 per week in benefits until July 31.

The efforts to more quickly distribute benefits to struggling Californians come after criticism that the state is lagging behind.

Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Getty

Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) said Wednesday that other states, including Michigan and New York, had already begun sending out benefits to independent contractors and the self-employed. California, he said, has acted “way too slowly. They are behind a lot of other states.”

Newsom’s comments came a day after state Labor Secretary Julie Su announced that a new online portal would be created in the next two weeks allowing independent contractors, gig workers and the self-employed to file documents to obtain benefits.

MLS Players Test Positive As Teams Travel To Florida To Start Tournament

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MLS Players Test Positive As Teams Travel To Florida To Start Tournament

Patrick Smith / Getty Images

The numbers are startling. The number of COVID-19 infections in the U.S. is skyrocketing and breaking records for the number of infections almost daily. One of the hardest-hit states in Florida and the MLS is determined to bring their season back using Florida as their meeting ground.

MLS athletes and staff members are testing positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Florida.

Major League Soccer is one of the first sports to attempt to restart its season. Fans were excited about the decision to restart the sport and MLS officials set their sights on the Walt Disney World Resort. Teams were flown down to Orlando to create a bubble to restart the sport as safely as possible.

Florida is experiencing one of the most severe spikes in cases in the country and the MLS is not immune to the spread.

Florida recently reported more than 10,000 cases July 1, a record for the state, and within 1,000 infections from the nation’s record set in New York. Orange County, which is home to Orlando and Walt Disney World Resort, is facing one of the most devastating outbreaks in the state.

There is a lot of chatter about whether or not is possible for this bubble idea to work.

“So far, most guys have been sticking to their rooms, playing video games, FIFA and 2K. We’ve had the opportunity share meals together, which was nice because I haven’t eaten in a group in a long time,” San Jose defender Tommy Thompson told Tampa Bay Times. “It felt great to be back on the field. When we all got on that bus together and started to train with contact, it felt really good.”

Fans are questioning if this idea is going to work.

Some players have told the press that they do feel safe in the bubble as the teams practice and prepare for the MLS is Back Tournament.

“Everyone is wearing masks, some guys are wearing gloves, and I feel safe 100 percent,” Dallas midfielder Tanner Tessmann told Tampa Bay Times. “They separated us on the buses and on the plane. We are staying one to a room in the hotel. So, I feel really safe. They have good procedures in place, so everything should go smoothly.”

The MLS is Back Tournament is set to begin July 8, considering everything goes according to plan. The rest of the teams are expected to arrive this week with the first game between Inter Miami and Orlando City.

READ: The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Is Calling For A Repeal Of Its Kneeling Policy During The National Anthem

Police Are Looking For Two People Who Attacked An Elotero In Long Beach

Things That Matter

Police Are Looking For Two People Who Attacked An Elotero In Long Beach

GoFundMe

Another street vendor has been attacked while working. This time, an elotero in Long Beach was viciously attacked by two people in broad daylight. Police and the community are looking for the two and people in Long Beach want to see justice brought against the attackers.

A vicious attack on an elotero was caught on a Ring camera.

According to KTLA, police are searching for two Black men in their 20s who were caught on camera attacking Bililfo Fernandez. The elotero was pistol-whipped and beaten as the two men stole his property and cash during the senseless and unprovoked attack.

In true American fashion, a GoFundMe was set up to cover the old man’s medical bills.

It is common in the U.S. for GoFundMe pages to be set up to cover medical costs for people who are victims of crime or face unexpected health failures. People can be heard screaming to deter the violent attack but no one intervened to help Fernandez while being attacked.

A GoFundMe set up for the elotero has raised more than $80,000 to help the family.

Credit: GoFundMe

“He is an elotero and goes on his usual routes everyday,” writes his daughter, Erika, who organized the GoFundMe. “He is a very hard working man and known by many.  We had to take him to the Emergency Room so that they could help him and treat him because his injuries were pretty severe. His nose and head were busted open with a gun. My dad does not have insurance.Anything will be very much appreciated to help pay for his medical expenses. During these hard times I am currently not working because of covid, so anything will be a blessing for us.”

People on social media are angered by the two men attacking someone taking care of their family during COVID-19.

Latino families are experiencing the devastating financial impacts of COVID-19. Unemployment was highest among the Latino community than any other group of people in the U.S. during the crisis. This elotero was doing what he could to keep his family afloat during the pandemic and faced violence.

People cant wait for just to be served and Latinos are reminding people that this is not a time to let anti-Blackness fester in the Latino community.

Racism is a real issue in the Latino community. While people are angered at this attack, this is not to be used to generalize against the Black community. These are two bad people who attacked a man for his money and property. If you have any information about the two men in the video attacking Fernandez, call the Long Beack Police Department at (562) 435-6711.

READ: Family Sets Up GoFundMe To Help Paletero In Chicago Retire