LOS ANGELES, California – Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Huntington Park/South Los Angeles), along with 22 members of the State Assembly, have written a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom citing economic impacts suffered by undocumented residents of the state caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The group of legislators is asking the Governor to establish a relief fund that would provide immediate economic assistance to undocumented workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund would use state dollars to help undocumented workers unable to work due to COVID-19 or a Shelter in Place Order, have been laid off from work, have had hours reduced, or are caring for their child due to the loss of childcare. Undocumented residents remain a highly vulnerable community within the state with no ability to obtain federal assistance including wage loss, business loans or healthcare subsidies like Medicaid.
The letter signed by 23 members of the Assembly notes one in ten California workers are undocumented individuals, contributing over $3 billion in taxes to our state. Without the ability to apply for or receive unemployment insurance or a federal stimulus check, undocumented residents will be amongst the hardest financially impacted communities in the state.
“Our state must show compassion to those affected by COVID-19 especially those whose contributions to the state go unreciprocated. The undocumented community in California has shown resilience and fortitude during other state crisis’s – providing for their families, their community and nonprofit organizations through hard work and dedication to service. California prides itself on being a progressive state with the unique ability to create innovative programs and services for its residents. Now is the time to be inclusive and support the undocumented community in our state,” said the author of the letter, Assembymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer.
“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,” said joint author Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose). “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.”
Over two million California residents are undocumented, with an estimated 813,000 residing in Los Angeles. A recent study by the California Budget and Policy Center found that excluding Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) filers from the federal stimulus results in a loss of almost $10,000 in state and federal benefits for a single mother earning minimum wage, based solely on citizenship status.