Assemblymember Ash Kalra Releases Statement in Response to Governor’s Disaster Relief Fund for Undocumented Workers

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) released a statement today in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement of the creation of the $125 million Disaster Relief Fund, which will support undocumented Californians impacted by COVID-19 who are ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits and disaster relief, including the CARES Act, due to their immigration status:

“I commend Governor Newsom for his leadership and for providing necessary support for one of our most vulnerable communities. With the economic instability created by this pandemic, we should all agree it will be difficult for anyone to bounce back from this, let alone undocumented workers who do not enjoy equal access to many employment benefits, including access to unemployment insurance. Despite this inequality, this workforce continues to contribute billions of dollars in taxes to our state while serving as the backbone of our economy. The State has the responsibility to support these workers who provide critical services that our communities rely on. A California for All includes unemployment support for our undocumented workers.”

The unprecedented statewide public-private partnership is the first in the nation, and will include $75 million in disaster relief assistance with an additional $50 million from philanthropic partners.

Approximately 150,000 undocumented adult Californians will receive a one-time cash benefit of $500 per adult with a cap of $1,000 per household to deal with the specific needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals can apply for support beginning next month. The Disaster Relief Fund will be dispersed through a community-based model of regional nonprofits with expertise and experience serving undocumented communities.

Additionally, Assemblymember Kalra, along with 22 other members of the State Legislature, today submitted a letter to the Governor commending him for the creation of the Disaster Relief Fund and asserting their commitment to work with the Administration to develop and implement the program.

California has developed an immigrant resource guide to provide information about COVID-19 related assistance, including public benefits, that are available to immigrant Californians.