States and counties have come up with numerous stimulus measures over the past two years. Not many of these, however, targeted undocumented immigrants. Now one state is accepting applications to offer stimulus checks to undocumented immigrants, and this state is Washington.
Undocumented immigrants in Washington affected by COVID-19 can now apply for a new round of financial relief, called the Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund.
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Stimulus Checks To Undocumented Immigrants: Who Will Get Them?
The Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund is part of the $340 million fund approved by the state legislature last year. This fund aims to fill the gap left by other pandemic-era stimulus programs that excluded undocumented immigrants, such as federal stimulus checks, expanded unemployment benefits, and more.
Eligible people can get a minimum of $1,000 through a check or prepaid card. The stimulus checks for undocumented immigrants are expected to arrive sometime between December and January.
Applications for the stimulus checks for undocumented immigrants opened Monday. The last date to submit the application is November 14. The amount of money that an applicant gets will depend on the number of applications.
Talking about eligibility, the payment would go to undocumented immigrants affected by the pandemic, including those who lost jobs, witnessed reduced working hours, weren’t able to pay housing and utility bills, tested positive for the virus, or cared for a family member who tested positive.
Other eligibility requirements are that the applicants must live in Washington and must be at least 18 years old. Applicants must not have also received any federal stimulus funds or any unemployment insurance because of their immigration status.
This means people who received any federal relief during the COVID-19 pandemic due to their immigration status, such as refugees, asylum seekers and DACA recipients, won’t be eligible for the stimulus checks to undocumented immigrants.
Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund: Not The First Time
It is not the first time that Washington is sending stimulus money to undocumented immigrants. The state sent the first round of relief in the fall of 2020, and at the time, about 94,000 people applied for the stimulus checks to undocumented immigrants over two months.
During the second round in February 2021, organizers had to close the applications after over 60,000 people applied for the stimulus money within two weeks. It will be interesting to see the number of applications for the current round.
According to a 2019 analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau data by the Migration Policy Institute, the state has more than 240,000 undocumented immigrants. Further, the Center for American Progress notes that the state's workforce includes around 5% of undocumented workers.
To apply for the Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund, visit www.immigrantreliefwa.org. Applicants can also call the WAISN hotline at 1-844-724-3737 for any assistance with the application. WAISN is one of the immigrant-led organizations that are helping to manage the program.