Undocumented immigrants impacted by the coronavirus pandemic can now apply for financial help in California.
The $125 million program is the first of its kind and so far, the response has been overwhelming. In fact, so overwhelming that many applicants are having trouble getting through.
Noemi Guerrero has two children. Both were born in the United States but because she is undocumented she doesn't qualify for a stimulus check or any federal COVID-19 related benefits.
"We're depending on donations, food banks, it's very hard," Guerrero said. "This other program in Hollywood was able to donate me $200. Thanks to that I was able to pay my phone bill and payments for the
Now California is offering help to Noemi and others. The $125 million fund combines $75 million from the state with $50 million from private donations. It will give provide $500 of support per adult, with a maximum of $1,000 per household.
The program is being administered through organizations such as CHIRLA, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.
"They need to meet three qualifications - that they were undocumented adults, but they did not qualify for federal stimulus assistance and that they've suffered by the pandemic some hardship," said Luis Perez with CHIRLA.
So far the hard part has been getting to the right agency. According to several reports people say they can't get through. Noemi says she hasn't had any luck
"I tried from 9 a.m. to literally 5 p.m.," she says. "Nothing."
At CHIRLA they are processing requests as fast as they can. Perez says the requests have been overwhelming.
"We've had over 1 million calls so that's obviously overwhelming for any phone system so our phones did crash for a couple of hours," Perez said.
Officials are hoping to get more money into the program. For now it will continue to accept applications until June 30.
$125M program offering economic relief for California undocumented immigrants
A $125 million program is combining state and private funds to provide checks from $500 to $1,000 for undocumented immigrants who aren't eligible for stimulus checks.