Only a fraction of undocumented immigrants have received disaster aid from California

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Esperanza and Sergio Corona de Rosas are among a small fraction of undocumented immigrants in California that have received COVID-19 disaster aid from California. Esperanza lost her job as a nanny, but she isn't eligible for state or federal unemployment due to her citizenship status. Photo by Benjamin Gottlieb/KCRW.

There are up to 2.5 million undocumented people living in California. They are not eligible for state or federal unemployment, nor the federal government’s pandemic stimulus money. 

Governor Gavin Newsom directed the state to set aside about $75 million for Californians who lack legal status through the Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants program. The money is being doled out in one-time payments of $500 per individual or $1000 per family. So far, the state's Department of Social Services approved more than 82,000 applications, and 64,000 people have received their money. 

There’s still more money to be distributed, and local nonprofits are getting flooded with requests, but it’s taking time.

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