California’s DRAI program provides $500 in assistance to undocumented immigrants


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Undocumented immigrants living in the United States are not eligible for the $1,200 stimulus check citizens receive from the federal government during the coronavirus pandemic.

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) is providing a one time payment of $500 to undocumented immigrants whose income has suffered because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI) funding is open to those who are able to prove that they:
-are an undocumented adult over 18 years old
-cannot apply for federal COVID-19 related assistance like the CARES Act tax stimulus payments and pandemic unemployment benefits
-have experienced economic hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic

A study by the New American Economy, a bipartisan organization that studies the impact of immigration on the US economy, found that 30,775 undocumented immigrants were living in Long Beach in 2016. This accounts for 24% of the city’s total immigrant population.

According to the 2016 data, 66.7% of Long Beach’s undocumented immigrants originate from Mexico, 6.8% from the Philippines, 5.9% from India, 3.2% from El Salvador and 2.5% from Honduras.

The undocumented immigrant population in Long Beach contributed $61.7 million in federal taxes and $20.2 million in state and local taxes in 2016, according to the study. However, unlike their documented co-workers, undocumented workers are not eligible to receive the $1,200 stimulus check offered by the federal government during the current health crisis.

The CDSS funding is projected to be distributed to 150,000 undocumented Californians, according to the CDSS website.

CDSS will be distributing the funds to nonprofit organizations in various regions of California, who will then assist individuals with the application process, confirm applicant’s eligibility, and deliver payment cards to those who are approved.

Immigration nonprofit organizations able to assist undocumented immigrants with their applications to DRAI located in Los Angeles and Orange County include Asian Americans Advancing Justice, which can be reached at (213) 241-8880, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) at (213) 201-8700 or (213) 395-9547 and the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) at (213) 315-2659.

Applications for DRAI opened on May 18.

The Filipino Migrant Center, a Long Beach-based nonprofit organization serving the local Filipino community, recommended Asian Americans Advancing Justice to its social media followers on May 18. Asian Americans Advancing Justice is able to provide assistance with Tagalog translation during the application process.

The $500 in state assistance from DRAI is less than half of the amount eligible citizens are able to receive from the federal government and is further limited to only two adults per household, meaning no household can receive more than $1000 in DRAI funding.

For more information about DRAI visit the CDSS website.