Salas Covid Q2

Published by Paola Avendano on

Gov. Gavin Newsom stepped up last week with a $125 million plan to provide them cash assistance of $500 per person and $1,000 per household. It’s a good start. This money will go to basic necessities–food and rent–so it will help lubricate economic gears that have ground to a halt. He also continued to fully include all immigrants in COVID19 testing and treatment. Our state government needs to recognize the undocumented as residents for the purpose of COVID-19 emergency health and economic relief. That means providing them access to unemployment benefits, CalFresh program, cash aid for elderly and disabled undocumented immigrants. Among those who could be helped is Jonathan Magdaleno, 29, an ICU nurse at LAC+USC Hospital in downtown Los Angeles who has DACA. Jonathan arrived from Mexico at age 13 with dreams of becoming a doctor. He graduated high school in 2009 and registered as soon as DACA becase available. With access to financial aid, he happily turned to nursing, got his licenses and signed up for intensive ICU training. He’s been in the COVID-19 front lines for about six months.
“What we see every day is COVID-19 patients,” he said. “I recently extubated a patient who had been really struggling. Now he is breathing 100 percent on his own. It is amazing to see that whole process.”

And yet, this groundbreaking plan will only help six percent of the 2.5 million undocumented workers that work shoulder to shoulder with their U.S.-born brethren to keep California going in tough times.Think of this: Jonathan, like many COVID-19 front line workers, doesn’t qualify for unemployment insurance. Gov. Newsom’s plan should become part of a foundation that protects all Californians equally, granting them all access to unemployment insurance.

This country should protect every worker, including immigrants, and California, as usual, is paving the way. Let’s make this the start of truly groundbreaking economic development. We cannot afford to leave 23 percent of our population out of our efforts to bring back California’s prosperity. Their suffering will affect all of us. We must do right by them to ensure our survival.