Non Profit Organizations That Help Illegal Immigrants – Immigrant rights activists take part in a protest in Los Angeles in 2019. July 1 Photo by Ronen Tivony/Sipa. via AP Images
Paula Cortez Medrano has worked in agriculture since coming to the United States. 25 years ago.
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He works summers in Fresno, picking onions, tomatoes, grapes and garlic, and in cold local produce warehouses where he wears pants to keep warm and picks fruits and vegetables to sell. in grocery stores across the country.
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During the pandemic, he contracted the COVID-19 virus and was sent home from work with only two weeks of paid leave. It took her 40 days to recover, but she rejected him when she returned to work at a packaging company.
“They told me they didn’t have a job for me anymore, that it was going slowly,” he said in Spanish in an interview with The Bee.
The 66-year-old said he believed he was rejected because of his age; they did not invite him back to work. Today, he sells tamales as a street vendor in downtown Fresno, making $80 a day, less than the $15 an hour he earns at a truck house.
Thanks to workers like Cortez Medrano, California Democratic lawmakers want to increase unemployment benefits for undocumented workers, a request supported by a new report from the UC Merced Community and Job Center that explains why California’s economy, workers and families stand to benefit. .
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Paula Cortez Medrano has worked in agriculture since coming to the United States. 25 years ago. Photo by Melissa Montalvo
Last month, Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, a Democrat from Coachella, and currently under consideration in the legislative session, AB 2847 would create the Unemployed Driver Assistance Program, a two-year program that would provide cash to unemployed people who are laid off or have reduced hours. in 2023 calendar year. Under the proposal, which, including administrative costs, will cost $597 million. $, eligible unemployed would receive up to $300 a week for 20 weeks.
Undocumented workers play an important role in California’s economy, contributing $3.7 billion to the economy, according to a report released Thursday. USD per year in gross fees. In addition, these workers hold one of 16 jobs in the state, many of whom were considered “laborers” during the COVID-19 pandemic because of the dangers they faced working in agricultural fields, slaughterhouses and other critical industries.
About 2 million undocumented people live in California and about 1.1 million of these people work.
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Of the 1.6 million workers in the central San Joaquin Valley, about 7% are undocumented, according to the report.
About 38% of noncitizen workers and more than 61% of children living with noncitizen workers live in low-income households and face housing and food insecurity, the report said. Unfortunately, such workers face many challenges and are unable to find work.
The report concluded that the problems faced by informal workers could be exacerbated by a number of natural disasters such as wildfires, earthquakes, extreme heat and drought, adding to the ongoing public health crisis that the government is already dealing with.
Cortez Medrano said that being able to receive unemployment benefits under the pilot program will be “la gloria,” or glory, and that they will use that money to pay rent, bills and buy food on time without working.
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Cortez Medrano said that in addition to receiving unemployment, obtaining a work permit will make it easier to look for work. “I can still work,” he said.
Workers in the industries with the highest number of COVID-related deaths reported the lowest unemployment insurance rates.
Immigrants accounted for nearly 60% of coronavirus-related deaths in California industries, which have seen the highest death toll from the pandemic. Refugee deaths are highest in agriculture at 83 percent, landscaping at 81 percent, food processing at 69 percent, restaurants and food at 53 percent, and construction at 52 percent.
Undocumented workers in these industries were the most vulnerable because they had no source of income when they lost their jobs. They cannot receive benefits, although they contribute to unemployment insurance.
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“Without a safety net, many undocumented workers often have no choice but to continue working — facing work-related challenges that endanger their health and the health of others — to meet their economic obligations,” the researchers said. the report said.
Unemployment benefits would prevent some deaths. “When workers don’t have access to jobs, they’re at risk,” said Edward Flores, a sociology professor and researcher at UC Merced’s Community and Work Center.
On the other hand, the researchers found that workers in industries with few self-employed people and high unemployment did not see a significant increase in deaths related to the epidemic.
The researchers found that “financial assistance is an important tool for protecting the health of workers and their families during health crises.”
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California has provided relief during the pandemic. Undocumented workers were eligible for up to $1,700 in federal funds: a $500 COVID-19 Disaster Relief prepaid card and $1,200 from the Golden State Stimulus Fund.
But the report estimated those payments were 20 percent less than the $36,000 in savings California workers received from unemployment insurance, federal unemployment compensation and federal stimulus payments in the first year of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, employers in these industries reported gains during the pandemic. in 2021 Fresno County’s production has been steady, and the meat industry’s profits have soared during the epidemic.
“However, low incomes and a lack of security threaten the economic stability and health of the workers who created this wealth,” the report said.
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“We only had one life crisis, but we have a lot of resources to think about how to solve it. Edward Flores, UC Merced sociology professor and researcher.
According to the UC Merced researchers, part of the answer is that the state should address this “system” using increased budgets and the lessons of the epidemic.
“It took the Great Depression to create the New Deal and most of the worker protections that exist today, like unemployment (insurance) or Social Security,” said UC Merced Flores.
“Our country is facing a once-in-a-lifetime threat, but we have a lot of resources to think about how to manage it,” he said.
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“This is now an opportunity for policymakers to fill in the gaps, not just now, but for any future emergencies,” Flores said.
California has increased state benefits for undocumented immigrants. in 2020 the state allowed low-income immigrants to receive the California Earned Income Tax Credit, a state tax credit worth hundreds of dollars. Last year, the state took a historic step to provide health care to undocumented Californians 50 and older.
Without access to protections, many undocumented workers often felt they had no choice but to continue working to meet their economic obligations,” reports the UC Merced Community and Labor Center.
In the early months of the pandemic, after California announced a $125 million emergency fund to help undocumented workers, the American Freedom Center and the Dhillon Law Group filed a lawsuit to block the aid package that Newsom had previously approved.
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Fresno County Republican Party spokeswoman Eulalio Gomez said the proposed program reflects how Sacramento is being “eliminated” from California’s middle class.
Gomez said undocumented workers “work hard,” but he believes giving them employment opportunities could attract illegal immigration and hurt California workers.
“I think you’re going to have problems for unions and union members if you keep encouraging people to come here,” he said.
“That didn’t happen when we expanded health care; “That didn’t happen when we removed the balance from the CalEITC (earned income tax credit),” said Ana Padilla, director of the UC Merced Community and Job Center. “There is no reason to believe that will happen in this case.”
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In addition, Padilla said that in recent decades, many recent immigrants have left California because of the high cost of living, which has led to a decrease in public sector workers.
Based on the 2020 in June UC Merced Community and Work Center Special Report, 2020 An estimated 852,065 immigrants have lost their jobs in California since the pandemic began in late 2018, including 357,867 undocumented workers.
The report says government workers face additional threats from climate change that could affect the number of jobs available to these workers, leading to displacement and loss of income.
An estimated 8,745 part-time jobs were lost last year in the Central Valley, Russian River Basin and northern intermountain valleys due to the drought.
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The number of undocumented workers decreased
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