Detroit’s Immigration Task Force is partnering with community organizations to distribute $750,000 in COVID-19 assistance to undocumented immigrants in Detroit. Undocumented immigrants were largely not eligible for the $1,200 stimulus checks many received as a result of the CARES Act. The $750,000 comes in the form of a grant from the Open Society Foundation.
Raquel Castañeda-López is on Detroit’s city council and is the chair of the city’s Immigration Task Force. She says the fund is the result of a lot of work and collaboration between the task force and community organizations.
“We know that the pandemic does not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, nationality… but unfortunately our federal government does. So this fund is an attempt to right the wrong committed by our federal government and make sure no one is left behind.”
The city government isn’t involved in the process of distributing funds to protect the privacy of those who apply.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said, “If the city government tried to step in, we would create a list of undocumented members who I think, very likely, the federal government would come in and take."
Sophia Chue is the co-chair of Detroit’s Immigration Task Force.
She says the nonprofits involved, like the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, were selected with the safety of the undocumented community in mind. In addition to the DHDC, ABISA, the Islamic Center of Detroit, One Michigan, and Global Detroit will also be facilitating the application and distribution process.
“A huge part of this, putting together this process, we had to ensure that we had the right partners in place, because what we don’t want to do is make our undocumented feel further unsafe as we attempt to help them,” Chue says.
Angie Reyes is the director of the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation. She says the safety of the undocumented community is the highest priority.
“The process is confidential, only the people who work in those organizations will have the information of the people who are applying, that information won’t go anywhere else, nobody in the city government will have it, so it’ll be very safe for people.”
In order to qualify, applicants must show they are Detroit residents. They can receive up to $2,000, or $500 per adult and $100 for each child under the age of 17.