Courtesy of Assemblyman Robert Rivas’ office:
Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) today praised Governor Gavin Newsom’s newly announced initiative to provide disaster relief assistance to undocumented immigrants affected by COVID-19. The $125 million initiative, which will be funded through a statewide public-private partnership, will provide financial support to undocumented Californians who are ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits and other disaster relief, including the CARES Act, because of their immigration status.
“Many undocumented workers are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rivas. “They harvest our food, staff our hospitals and nursing homes, and provide other essential services to keep our state running. Governor Newsom is absolutely right to support undocumented Californians, as our federal government shamefully leaves them out of national relief legislation.”
But Rivas said additional steps are needed to protect the large number of undocumented agricultural and farmworkers in California.
“We must do more to protect undocumented workers, including farmworkers, who are providing essential services during this crisis,” said Rivas. “Farmworkers live and work in crowded conditions that make them uniquely vulnerable to COVID-19. We need urgent legislation to keep our farmworkers safe as they help to keep food on our tables.”
Assemblymember Rivas, who was raised in farmworker housing, recently introduced the five-bill “California Farmworker COVID-19 Relief Package,” along with co-author Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella). The package proposes to expand paid sick leave for farmworkers, provide supplemental hazard pay, fund an outreach campaign to educate workers on personal protection practices, and help expedite temporary housing to mitigate overcrowding and allow for social distancing. It also includes a tax credit for farmers who offer overtime work to their workers.