by Cristina Cabada Sidawi, Alachua Cty. Labor Coalition Coordinator
COVID-19 affects everyone, it does not discriminate on immigration status. Yet, relief responses by the federal government have proved to discriminate immigrants and have left them out. Over the past couple of months, all of us have experienced the debilitating consequences of the pandemic, however, we face these consequences differently.
This pandemic has brought great stress to our community and has inflicted even greater stress to the immigrant families in our community. Many of these immigrant families have faced layoffs and some have had to continue working in conditions that are not safe.
Mass layoffs and cuts in hours have made it incredibly difficult for these undocumented families to pay utilities, rent, and medical bills.
The $2 trillion stimulus package has promised $1,200 to adults with incomes of less than $75,000 and left out millions of taxpaying undocumented workers and families. These taxpaying undocumented workers and families deserve the same opportunity to help them navigate life in such difficult times.
The Community Immigration Mutual Aid (CIMA) is fighting to guarantee economic assistance for undocumented workers and families during this pandemic.
CIMA is a coalition made up of individuals working together from The Human Rights Coalition of Alachua County, Dream Defenders, Madres sin Fronteras, and The Alachua County Labor Coalition.
The Stimulus Solidarity efforts promoted by CIMA has urged those who are receiving stimulus checks to donate a portion of their check to undocumented families who will not receive economic assistance under the $2 trillion stimulus package. All donations will go directly to immigrant families, so they can survive through the economic upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Friends and neighbors have already responded and come together to raise $19,800 to help our undocumented brothers and sisters. With that money at least 50 families are to receive financial assistance to help navigate life during the pandemic.
CIMA is extremely grateful for the generosity of our community members and thanks to each and every person who helped in the efforts. Please visit hrcalachua.com/pandemic-response to make a donation.
The efforts of CIMA have led to dialogue with the city about extending the GNVcares efforts to undocumented families within the city. The GNVcares efforts include providing financial assistance to neighbors who are in low-income categories as well as providing grants to small businesses.
The city has not made any formal commitment to extending some of these funds to tax-paying immigrant families, however, it seems likely they will at some point.