LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Applications are now being accepted for a $125 million state program aimed at helping undocumented immigrants who do not qualify for federal relief, but have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Flori, a Guatemalan immigrant, has two children and has been out of a job since the pandemic hit.
“Right now, we live in a place that is not our country,” she said in Spanish. “Our house is in a different country, and we have expenses we have to pay like rent and for food.”
Flori is just one of thousands who has been trying to apply for the program.
“So far, thousands of people have been calling, which only highlights the demand for need,” Alexandra Morales, policy manager for CARECEN — the Central American Resource Center — said.
Morales said that in order to qualify for a payment, applicants must be undocumented and over the age of 18 and must not qualify for federal relief of any kind.
“And, thirdly, the person must have been facing challenged due to the coronavirus, for example they lost their job, they fell ill to COVID-19 or they are caring for someone who has fallen ill,” she said.
The program will provide a one-time benefit of $500 per adult or $1,000 per household and is expected to help 150,000 immigrants.
And while critics of the program say the state should use the money to help American taxpayers and to get the economy up and running again, Morales said this money is just as vital for recovery.
“We cannot ignore that a lot of our immigrant communities continue to pay their taxes, whether they benefit form programs or not,” she said. “Thus, as a result, if we are looking at the plan and the recovery of our economy, we cannot forget and exclude these groups as well.”
Information about how to apply and frequently asked questions can be found on the state’s website. Applications will be accepted until June 30, and those who qualify for the program will receive the money in a matter of days.