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Immigration advocates launch fund to help those ineligible for coronavirus stimulus packages

Immigration advocates launch fund to help those ineligible for coronavirus stimulus packages
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A national immigrant advocacy group has launched a fund for immigrant workers who are ineligible for federal coronavirus stimulus funds.

Faith in Action, a national community organizing network, told Newsweek that various workers have been forced to continue as essential workers but been ineligible for aid due to rules that restrict immigrants without a Social Security number from receiving CARES Act funds.

Richard Morales, policy and program director for Faith in Action’s LA RED campaign, told the publication that "excluding immigrants from financial support forces people to work, putting them directly in the path of the virus."

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"Asking people to choose between their health and putting food on their tables is not a real choice," Morales said. "Instead of ensuring that members of all communities in this country had the support and protection they need from the virus, Congress went out of its way to exclude immigrants from receiving a stimulus check, making a clear choice about who is disposable."

The funds the group raises will be distributed throughout pre-established funds in the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona and California. The group plan to set up further accounts in other states in the days ahead, according to Newsweek.

Recipients of the money will include parts of the “essential workforce” like health care workers, grocery clerks, farmworkers, and workers at dairy and meatpacking plants. The latter industry, which is largely composed of immigrant workers, has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, including an Iowa Tyson Foods plant where over half the workforce has tested positive.

"Many of the folks that have been affected by the current situation find themselves with no job or working fewer hours–this creates anxiety and uncertainty," Pastor Leo Castro, a clergy member with Nevada ACTIONN, said in a statement, according to Newsweek.

"When the income decreases, something at home has to go and many times what goes is food or medicine," he added. "I don't see fear among the people, instead I see concern regarding provision. It is critical that those of us who can donate do, so that we can continue to provide the urgent support immigrants need so that nobody is deciding between food and medicine."