Washington Undocumented-Led Organizations Build Largest Statewide Fund in Country to Provide COVID-19 Relief for Undocumented Folks

Washington State Organizations in Support of Immigrants Raise One Million Dollars for Undocumented Residents Impacted by Coronavirus


April 28, 2020: Over 250,000 undocumented immigrants call Washington home. These communities don’t benefit from the $2 trillion CARES Act, can’t access unemployment benefits, and continue to face barriers to access healthcare and basic resources to survive this pandemic.

Create a Washington Worker Relief Fund

As the nationwide death toll soars past 50,000 and jobless claims are on track to reach one million in Washington State, undocumented communities continue to suffer some of the worst effects of the virus. In the absence of government relief, undocumented-led organizations and allies have stood together to raise over $1 million dollars, the largest single statewide fund for undocumented folks in the country.

“This milestone proves the power and support of our undocumented & immigrant communities is growing,” says Monserrat Padilla, Co-Director of the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network. “Undocumented & immigrant communities are the backbone of this country as your healthcare providers, your delivery drivers, your food supply & farm workers, your teachers and childcare givers — the essential workers who are helping us get through the pandemic. We must include everyone on the safety net programs that are keeping us all healthy and safe under this pandemic.”

The fund has received over 14,000 applicants requesting aid highlighting the real systemic gap and burden the broader community is facing. Many are facing this pandemic alone. Undocumented folks are overrepresented in industries that have been decimated by the pandemic. Restaurants, hospitality, landscaping, construction, agriculture and many more are being deemed essential businesses that depend on the immigrant workforce with little to no protection. Often living paycheck to paycheck, undocumented workers suddenly face the prospect of serious illness and complete loss of income with no safety net for themselves or their families.

This fund is helping to bridge that gap.

The fund supports families fleeing from domestic violence, people who have contracted COVID-19, single mothers, cancer patients, people with diabetes, people suffering from multiple sclerosis, and more. The grants can be used to get through the pandemic, such as rent, bills, food, and medical treatments.

As of now, the fund is prioritizing grants to those whose work, home or health have been impacted by the COVID19 outbreak; people who are high risk, including those who are Black or LGBTQ; and individuals experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of losing their housing.

“There is no application or situation more worthy of approval than another,” says Alejandra Pérez, Organizer with the Washington Dream Coalition. “We’re frustrated that even with this huge milestone — $1 million dollars — we still need to make difficult decisions on who gets relief. The reality is that the government, the one they all pay taxes to each month, should be footing the bill.”

Federal and state governments have failed to provide basic relief for communities who were excluded from unemployment insurance and unfairly left out of federal stimulus measures. These communities are disproportionately likely to lack access to paid sick leave or health insurance and are being forced to bear the brunt of a pandemic alone.

“This fund is proof of what immigrants have always done: taken care of each other. When our government fails us time and time again, we will keep standing together to fight for what we deserve: basic humanity in the eyes of our legislators, the healthcare system and dignity in our labor”, says Daniela Murguia, Organizer with Washington Dream Coalition.

Our work does not end here. We will continue to share the need we’re seeing as we talk to Foundations, as we talk to big donors, and as we bring new partners into our efforts. That’s why today, we’re raising our fundraising goal to two million dollars. Together, we can help over 2,000 undocumented families suffering during this unprecedented global pandemic.

Learn more about the fund and help us reach our new goal below:

ISSUED BY: Washington Dream Coalition, Scholarship Junkies, Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Entre Hermanos, Somos Seattle, SWWA LULAC Council, Vancouver NAACP, Latino Community Resource Group, Clark County Latino Youth Conference

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