Undocumented migrants begin receiving money from California


SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Monday was the first day undocumented migrants impacted by the coronavirus pandemic could begin applying for financial assistance in California.

Jewish Family Service, an agency in San Diego with a long history of helping immigrants, was chosen as one of 12 agencies in the state to distribute $75 million dollars, as promised by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Another $50 million could be available through donations and contributions.

Before they even opened their offices Monday morning, JFS reported getting “hundreds and hundreds of phone calls.”

Outside their main gate, more of the same as people walked up looking to apply for money promised to California’s undocumented migrants who have lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Two unidentified men walked up to the Jewish Family Service office looking to register for money promised to undocumented migrants in California. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

JFS will provide $500 per individual and up to $1,000 per household to undocumented migrants who are at least 18 years of age and can prove COVID-19 cost them their jobs.

The agency will work with people in San Diego and Imperial Counties.

“Between now and the end of June, it’s first come, first served,” said Michael Hopkins, CEO of JFS. “There’s dollars available for about 10,000 individuals.”

Last month, Newsom announced migrant workers not eligible for unemployment or federal stimulus money would be eligible to receive the financial help.

“Every Californian, including our undocumented neighbors and friends, should know that California is here to support them during this crisis,” Newsom said in a statement back in April. “We are all in this together.”

This field worker in San Diego may be eligible for money now available to undocumented migrants.
(Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

Hopkins added that this money is a small amount that will help thousands of people in California.

“For a lot of folks who are able to get stimulus checks or unemployment, while that may be inadequate, it was some help,” Hopkins said. “This is a population that wasn’t getting any help at all, it was literally falling through the cracks.”

Late Monday evening, Jewish Family Service sent word the state has revised how calls are taken and processed:

“The State of California is requiring that all calls to the Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI) hotlines must be answered live. As such, there will no longer be a voicemail option. Phone lines are open every day, 7 days per week, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. — increased by one hour. If you do not get through when you call, please keep calling back until you get through. There may be long delays. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we try and assist callers as thoroughly and quickly as possible. If you left a voicemail on Monday, May 18 and did not receive a call back yet, you must call the hotline again to speak to a live representative.

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