“We feel a deep sense of gratitude for people that are in fear of deportation but are still addressing the essential needs of tens of millions of Californians,” Newsom said Wednesday. “And that’s why I’m proud as governor to be the very first state to announce a program for direct disaster assistance to those individuals.”
The state will provide $75 million with an additional $50 million coming from private philanthropists — including the Emerson Collective, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, James Irvine Foundation, California Endowment and Blue Shield Foundation, Newsom said.
Totaling $125 million, undocumented individuals will receive $500 and households will receive assistance of up to $1000.
“I’m not here to suggest that $125 million is enough. But I am here to suggest it’s a good start, and I’m very proud it’s starting here in the state of California,” Newsom said.
Immigrant advocacy groups lauded the state’s effort.
“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,” National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) said in a statement Wednesday.
While some argue that it is not the government’s responsibility to support those undocumented when American citizens are hurting financially, immigration advocates say the disproportionate effect on undocumented workers is a wider problem.
In a public health crisis, immigration advocates say, if someone feels like they can’t miss work or can’t afford medical care, that impacts the entire community.