Dear Governor Newsom,
As clergy, community, and nonprofit leaders, we ask you to do more to protect our vulnerable neighbors; the undocumented. Although we applaud your recent efforts to focus attention and resources on the issue, we believe that far more is needed to provide effective and equitable relief for undocumented workers and their families.
Our state is home to 2.5 million undocumented immigrants, including 1.75 million workers. Many of these workers serve in essential industries. This crisis reveals just how essential they are; many continue to go to work every day to ensure that our food supply chain remains intact even as they incur great personal health risk to themselves and their families.
Undocumented workers contribute an estimated $3 billion in state and local taxes in California. These immigrants are an essential part of our economy, our communities, and our common life as Californians. Providing them with economic relief is both a matter of justice and sound public policy. Undocumented workers will not be able to support their families without stronger relief measures.
We are making the following proposals because undocumented immigrants are an essential part of the social and economic fabric of California. They should be regarded as such during this pandemic emergency. We believe that this is an effective and targeted approach to help those who are most in need. We stand ready to work with you to do what is necessary to protect, heal, and rebuild California.
Specifically, we support California IAF’s call for the following policies:
- Permanently expand the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) to include any tax filer who uses an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
- Send payments of $1,200 to all Californians who qualified for CalEITC last year or this year, including any filer who used an ITIN and meets the same income levels as the CalEITC.
- Utilize State Disability Insurance (SDI) funds to assist any worker unemployed as a result of COVID-19, but ineligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI).
- Expand no-cost or low-cost hotel options to workers who are essential to maintaining California’s food supply.
- Make more money available to food banks and school districts to expand their capacity to get food and information about new relief programs to families in need.
- Ensure that COVID-19 treatment and testing is covered under Medi-Cal for all Californians who meet the income requirements.