As Californians we know that our own well-being is tied to everyone else’s. California’s Immigrant Resilience Fund is making headlines demonstrating that we are standing together to make sure each and every one of us—native and newcomer—has resources to prevail through the outbreak.
Earlier this month, the World Education Services (WES) Mariam Assefa Fund shared its initial responses to the needs exposed and created by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Immigrants are America’s workers, and 12 million are currently on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. Immigrant workers number disproportionately among America’s health care, food delivery, and janitorial service workers. They also rank high in industries hardest hit by the faltering economy, such as caregiver, food, retail, and hospitality sectors.
Undocumented folks do not have the same safety nets provided to other members of our community. Many undocumented people work in jobs that are most vulnerable to exposure to the virus and the shutdown. There is already limited access to healthcare, so undocumented people should have the resources to be able to take care of themselves.
Nearly all of the thousands of people currently living on the streets of San Diego county are there because they couldn’t pay their rent, and that number will sky rocket if unemployed families aren’t offered either a way to pay their rent or forgiveness of their debt.
The membership of Workers Defense Project created this fund as a form of 'mutual aid' recognizing that our current economic system fails us and it's up to us to create alternative solutions for the well-being of our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope to be able to give $250 to 60 families / households of low-income immigrant families in Texas.
Many of our immigrant community members work in temporary or low-wage jobs without access to sick leave, unemployment or the ability to work remotely. Immigrants, many of them undocumented, do essential work that sustains us all.
Amidst travel restrictions and other government responses to the growing COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as of March 17, 2020, temporarily suspended refugee resettlement departures—the actual travel of a refugee from their initial country of asylum to the country where they will be resettled. In addition to travel disruptions, the UNHCR cited concerns that refugees would be placed at a higher risk of contracting and transmitting the virus if they continued to travel as reasons behind their decision.
As we face one of the worst pandemics of our lifetimes, we know that our best chance of weathering the storm is to pool our resources and help the people in our communities that need it most. APEN is organizing a COVID-19 Emergency Community Stabilization Fund to make sure that the working class Asian immigrants and refugees in our communities have what they need to stay home and stay healthy during this pandemic.
The spread of coronavirus is affecting everyone we know here in Tucson. But our friends and neighbors who have been hit the hardest - those who are here without legal status - face the steepest obstacles to getting the support they need.