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Relief Program For Immigrants Struggling In Pandemic Is Ending

Street vendor Lucas Tax sells inflatable toys and cotton candy outside the California Science Center at Exposition Park in Los Angeles on March 24, 2019. (Agustin Paullier/AFP via Getty Images)
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Tomorrow — June 30 — is the last day for immigrants without legal status to apply for pandemic relief funds from the state.

The $75 million allocation is expected to help roughly 150,000 individuals and households. The 12 nonprofits around the state that are handling applications for the program have been inundated with calls — indication to some lawmakers that the program needs to be extended.

The California Department of Social Services said that as of Monday morning, more than 147,000 applications had been submitted and more than 95,000 applications approved, with over $38 million disbursed and some 77,000 prepaid cards sent out.

Immigrants without status do not qualify for unemployment benefits, making it hard for some to pay rent or put food on the table, said State Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles.

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“The undocumented are the only ones who contribute who do not have a reliable safety net and that's just wrong,” said Durazo, who co-signed a letter from the Latino Legislative Caucus to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“They work in the field,” Durazo continued. “They work in restaurants. They work in health care. They work in hospitality. I mean, what else can they do to show their loyalty to California?”

There’s also a nonprofit campaign to raise philanthropic funds for immigrants without status. That effort is nearing its $50 million goal.