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Immigration Project Offers COVID-19 Cash Assistance

Many immigrants did not benefit from the $1,200 federal payments via the CARES Act.
Eric Gay
Many immigrants did not benefit from the $1,200 federal payments via the CARES Act.

Immigrants who did not qualify for federal COVID-19 relief payments can now apply for direct cash assistance from the Normal-based Immigration Project.

Many immigrants did not benefit from the $1,200 federal payments via the CARES Act. Immigrants were not eligible even if only one member of their family did not have a Social Security number, according to the Immigration Project.

In response, the Immigration Project distributed $20,000 in cash assistance to needy families in central and southern Illinois in May, and another $220,000 is available through June 30.

Zoe Bouras, communications and development coordinator with the Immigration Project, said there are around 150,000 immigrants working in health care and social service agencies in Illinois.

“We’re depending on immigrants more than ever right now, and it’s been really good that we have been able to step up to help them, but really more needs to be done,” Bouras said.

To be eligible for the cash relief, immigrants must meet two of three guidelines: You cannot use federal assistance, you have not received a stimulus check, or you are out of work. Those eligible will receive $500 payments. Applications are now available online.

The Immigration Project also is offering food distribution for those living in McLean County. The cash assistance is available to anyone in the 86 counties served by the organization.

“The situation is really serious for immigrant families in our community right now,” Marianela Diaz, the bilingual liaison for Unit 5 schools, said in a statement. She fields multiple calls a day from students and their parents. “This fund is greatly needed because there just isn’t much assistance available to this population.”

The Immigration Project also is accepting donations to help with the cash relief.

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Christopher Stoinev is an intern at WGLT. He is also a student in the Illinois State University School of Communication.