Post by Raf Schott. Colgate Class of 2021.
Source: Holcombe, Madeline, and Catherine E. Shoichet. “Why California Is Giving Its Own Stimulus Checks to Undocumented Immigrants.” CNN, Cable News Network, 16 Apr. 2020.
A CNN article reported that California Governor, Gavin Newsom, will distribute $125 million towards undocumented immigrants in the state. This marks the first state to support undocumented immigrants and the reasoning is quite simple. Many of the undocumented immigrants are essential workers in many important sectors, such as health care, agriculture, manufacturing, and construction. Undocumented workers, who were laid off due to the pandemic, are not licensed to receive part of the $2.2 trillion stimulus package. The package is meant to aid American workers who, due to the crisis, are in need of cash to stay afloat. Therefore, using $75 million in state donations and $50 million in private philanthropy, California is giving out cash for around 150,000 undocumented immigrants in the state. Although it is not enough to cover all illegal immigrants, it’s a start. Undocumented immigrants, who are likely to be deported in government encounters, receive the money through regional non-profits that have contact and experience with the undocumented communities. The article ends with two strong quotes that explain how the coronavirus does not discriminate among groups and how these funds are a necessary first step to making a “difference between life and death for millions of Californians”.
This article and the stimulus it describes is revolutionizing and controversial, in terms of America’s approach towards undocumented immigrants. Immigrants have always been a part of and contributed to the United States’ economic sectors, yet they have no way of getting support from the government unless they apply for citizenship. Undocumented immigrants are most likely the ones struggling the most in the country. They are considered to have one of, if not the lowest income and do not receive any federal aid. California’s response to this issue is significant, necessary, and should be noted throughout the country. It’s clear that if nothing is done to help this minority group, they will suffer under this pandemic. Losing many of these undocumented immigrants also means the labor force in essential sectors, such as food, healthcare, and production sectors, will decrease. California, as the most populated state in the country, has the largest number of illegal immigrants. Hopefully, initiating this process will propel other states to contribute and support their undocumented immigrants. These immigrants are in life and death situations, whether state governors choose to recognize their critical state or not. Gavin Newsom is saving the lives of many through this stimulus; the inaction of other state governors will have devastating effects on those who were previously struggling, and now are at an even greater risk.