Handling a Pandemic: How the Most Vulnerable are Being Left Out to Dry


Illustration by Noelle Marroquin

Ari Matias Perez, Co-Editor in Chief, Co-News Editor

When the world is faced with difficult times we often see both the best and worst in humanity.  The whole world is experiencing panic and horror that come with our uncertainty of the future.  However, we mustn’t forget about empathy and gratefulness for one another, especially for those who are in greater need.

During the COVID-19 pandemic we now face,  the government is being forced to intervene and do what it can to help the public.  On March 27th, the federal government put forth a $2 trillion economic stimulus in order to send eligible Americans a $1,200 check.  The IRS will automatically be sending these checks through mail or direct deposits from tax information. However, in order to be eligible for this stimulus check, one must have a social security number and annually earn a specific amount of income.  Individuals earning up to $99,000, and couples earning up to $198,000, will receive a check with the amount varying according to their annual income.  The Treasury Department announced that Social Security recipients who typically do not file taxes do not need to, their payment will automatically be deposited into their bank accounts.  Additionally, families will receive $500 for every child under 17 years of age.

However, this act of financial support leaves out anyone who does not have a social security, such as undocumented immigrants.  Due California’s prominent undocumented population, on April 15, the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom proposed providing some financial support for undocumented immigrants that were ineligible for government support.  The Governor will put forth $75 million with an additional $50 million gathered from humanitarian partners in fundraising.  This funding will provide a one time cash benefit of $500 per adult and up to $1,000 per household.  Unfortunately, Newsom was met with a multitude of angry conservative Californians, out of state masses, and other government officials criticizing his proposal.  

Claims varying from “American money should be for the American citizens” and “why should they receive financial support when they don’t pay taxes?” flooded the internet.  I read hundreds of comments attacking Newsom for his decision and not once did these people mention the children who have undocumented parents.  The millions of undocumented immigrants who live in California have American children, myself being one of them, and will not receive any aid to help care for them. 

The same people claiming “I’m not racist. I’m just looking out for my fellow Americans,” choose to turn their head when American children are being overlooked, mostly due to their own ignorance.  Yes, natural-born citizenship is still a thing!  The citizens who do not yet have a “valid” voice in the world of politics are being forgotten and casted away.  For that very reason, every adult that can do something to help these children should do so, not do the exact opposite.  Why is it that the same people who preach wanting the best for the nation are the first to oppose growth and help for others simply because of their background?

Due to COVID-19, various businesses are being forced to shut down with exception for what is now being called “essential businesses” like super markets and general supply stores. Although it may not seem like it, field work is an essential job.  Now that only essential workers are being allowed into the workforce, we are able to see the major impact these workers have on our economy and day to day life.  

Even under normal circumstances, field workers often get overlooked. Since customers never experience a personal encounter with field workers, the fact that someone had to cultivate the fruit and vegetables they are buying usually flies over their heads.  The truth is that someone– a lot of the times a teenager–had to spend hours barely making minimum wage working in the fields so that others could eat.  Being that this is one of the best job they can obtain, a great majority of field workers are undocumented immigrants.  These immigrants work for the American people, pay American tax, and in doing so, stimulate the American economy, yet they do not reap any of the same benefits that others doing the same would.  The same people refusing to let the Governor aid undocumented immigrants are the ones who are safe at home using their newly arrived stimulus check to enjoy the produce that immigrants cultivate.   Even those who do not file a tax return are eligible for a stimulus check. Undocumented immigrants work so that People can have food on theirtable and yet many refuse to help them, even remotely.  How ironic is that these people help put food on everyone’s table, but can’t afford to have food on their own?  

People are letting others struggle to make ends meet due to pure arrogance and  ignorance.  Do not mask ill intentions with “worry for your own.”  This is not, or ever was, the time to turn our head from injustice.  I implore that we find ways to help the ones who need it most.  Donate to reputable organizations, help out a neighbor, support our Governor when he tries to help those who help us.

To everyone and anyone still opposing Governor Newsom’s proposal, please tell me, why can an individual earning an annual income of $75,000 receive a $1,200 check, but someone who earns an annual income of less than $25,000 can’t even receive $500?