Long Beach activist groups have started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for undocumented immigrants who have been economically affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Long Beach COVID-19 Undocumented Community Relief Fund was started April 1 by The Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition, DAYS Long Beach, the Democratic Socialists of America’s Long Beach chapter and Housing Long Beach, and has raised $3960 so far, with a goal of $150,000.
The funds raised will go directly to undocumented people who have lost their jobs or had their working hours reduced due to the ongoing health crisis.
“COVID-19 has destroyed the livelihoods of many in our community,” the GoFundMe page states. “But whereas those with status can rely on unemployment benefits, medicare and forthcoming federally funded COVID-19 relief programs to get them through this crisis, our undocumented community members can only get help from us. Nearly 31,000 undocumented immigrants live in Long Beach. Many of our undocumented community members work in temporary or low wage jobs, without access to sick leave, unemployment or the ability to work remotely. These families now wonder how to put food on the table, how to care for sick loved ones and how they will pay [for] rent or other basic necessities.”
Besides job insecurity, arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are also taking place among Long Beach’s undocumented community.
Numerous local activist groups, including the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition, the Filipino Migrant Center and more, encouraged their social media followers to donate to the family of a Long Beach man who was arrested by ICE on March 1. Nicolas Martinez Telles was apprehended as he walked from his home to his car across the street, according to the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition’s post.
Since losing Nicolas to an ICE arrest, his partner has had to support their four children by herself. This has been increasingly hard since her work as a domestic laborer has been affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, only allowing her to work once a week.
To donate to the Martinez family, people can send money via the Venmo app to her address: @Iris-Rodriguez-72.
Besides the fear of losing their livelihood and being arrested by ICE, undocumented immigrants who face deportation are often sent to crowded detention centers, potentially dangerous places to be in an outbreak. This was shown when an outbreak of mumps in ICE detention facilities spread to immigrants being held at 57 different facilities in 2018 and 2019, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We are all frightened right now, but our undocumented neighbors face even greater hardships in the next couple of months,” the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition said.