These are scary times for people all around the globe and here at home. The untimely closing of our schools and shock to our economy due to the coronavirus pandemic is having a crippling effect upon struggling students, low-income families, and communities of color – all of whom were already feeling vulnerable before the pandemic hit California.
For immigrant and/or mixed-status families, the virus poses an even greater threat. That is why we have compiled a list of six critical resource areas with links to information and organizations that can speak directly to the needs of undocumented individuals regarding their rights during COVID-19.
Protecting the rights of immigrant workers in the time of coronavirus is not only humane but socially and morally just. The value immigrants bring to American culture and to the economy enriches all of society – when they prosper, we all prosper. If the world has learned anything, it is how our lives are interconnected. We must treat the coronavirus pandemic as our common enemy and not each other. In times like these, nothing shines brighter than the human spirit.
Please know that the resources and links below are meant to provide up-to-date information and guidance, not legal advice. Everyone’s situation is unique and for that reason, it is very important to seek out an attorney or appropriate organization to ensure your rights are protected.
1. Worker’s Rights in California – If you were laid off or lost your job due to COVID-19, please look at these resources:
- Legal Aid At Work: Information for Workers
- Employment Development Department – Eligibility
- Legal Aid Undocumented Workers Employment Rights
- Legal Aid Worker’s Rights Clinics and Helplines
- Immigrant Policy Center – Information for CA Immigrants
- California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance
- California Rural Legal Foundation – Information and Resources for Immigrant and Farm Worker Communities
2. Know Your Rights
3. Relief Funds & Resources
- One Fair Wage – Fund for Service Workers
- Children of Restaurant Employees
- National Domestic Workers Alliance
- Savi and Student Debt Crisis
- Legal Aid At Work List of Relief Funds
- SoCalGas CARES Assistance Program
- An interactive map showing where Los Angeles families can get free meals
4. Education & Technology Resources At Home Learning Tools for Families
- Resources Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)
- Free internet access – Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)
- Low-cost internet across California
5. COVID Testing and Medical Treatment
The CARES Act is a $2 trillion stimulus bill passed by Congress to provide economic relief and health care options during the growing COVID-19 pandemic. While the Act expands the availability of free testing for COVID-19, it does not directly pay for the costs of treatment. Rather, it falls on states to use their Medicaid programs to cover free testing to uninsured persons.
- California is one of several states to offer “emergency” MediCal to provide free testing, diagnosis, and treatment for COVID-19 and will not count against undocumented persons under the new public charge rules. Read more at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services site.
- Immigrants can continue to access services at community health centers, regardless of their status, and at a reduced cost or free of charge depending on their income. Read more at the National Immigration Law Center site.
If you think you have the virus, CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights Los Angeles) has a free hotline you can call 888-624-4752. In California, immigrants have access to emergency care regardless of immigration status. More information here.
6. Renter’s Rights
Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order allowing local governments to ban landlords from evicting tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19. The order is good through the end of May unless it is extended. Renters are still responsible for paying their rent.
To be eligible, renters must notify their landlord if they are unable to pay rent in writing up to and no later than seven days after the rent is due. In addition to notifying their landlord, renters must provide proof of a change in financial circumstances (i.e. a signed letter or statement from an employer). Click on this link to access a simple fill-in-the-blanks form that can be printed and given to your landlord. ·
We advise that you first check with your local government to see if they may have added local measures to give extra protection for renters who are undocumented.