More than 60 representatives of local organizations and elected officials signed a letter to state Assemblymembers Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) and Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara), as well as state Sen. Hannah Beth-Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), calling on these state legislators to help immigrant families excluded from federal and state safety nets during the COVID-19 crisis.
The May 19 letter calls on local leaders and Gov. Gavin Newsom “to exercise their authority to put an end to the exclusion of undocumented workers from California’s safety net, and provide weekly income support for all workers whose families are struggling due to job loss during this crisis.”
Some of the letter signees, including the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy
(CAUSE) and Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project
(MICOP), organized a Zoom press briefing on May 19 before the letter was sent.
During the briefing, CAUSE Policy and Communications Director Lucas Zucker said that one in 10 residents of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties is undocumented. Undocumented residents, he said, “have unfortunately been left behind by a lot of the relief efforts.”
The governor’s Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants Project
only has the funds to give roughly 150,000 undocumented people sums of $500, according to Zucker. CAUSE and other local organizations say it’s not enough to cover the 2 million to 3 million undocumented Californians in need of relief. Furthermore, the federal stimulus package gave millions of documented Americans $1,200 checks, meaning there is a large gap between this and what the undocumented community is receiving, Zucker said.
Many of the same local organizations that signed the May 19 letter are part of the 805 UndocuFund effort
, which is giving monetary relief to as many local undocumented people as it can. But with more than 7,000 people currently on the waitlist—five times more than the fund has seen before—the fund closed its waitlist for the time being.
Briefing organizers thanked Limón for co-signing a separate, May 18 letter to the governor from California legislators, urging Newsom to adopt an “undocumented worker partial income replacement program.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF CAUSE
CLOSE THE GAP Local advocacy organizations sent a May 19 letter to state lawmakers asking that they provide more of a safety net for undocumented immigrants affected by the pandemic.
Santa Maria Councilmember Gloria Soto, who also signed the May 19 letter, told the Sun
that supporting local advocacy and organizations is key to helping undocumented people in Santa Barbara County.
“We need to continue to support organizations that are pushing this kind of work,” she said. “MICOP is one of the organizations that will be helping the state of California distribute the funds that the state has allocated for undocumented families here in our own community, so continuing to support organizations like those.” ∆