Chicago Mayor Signs Executive Order to Ensure Illegal Immigrants Can Access Coronavirus Relief Funds

Mairead McArdle

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued an executive order Tuesday to ensure that illegal immigrants and refugees in the city are able to access the city’s coronavirus relief benefits.

“This order is more than just an official decree, it is a statement of our values as a city and as Americans,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “Since COVID-19 first reached our city’s doorstep, we have been working around the clock to ensure all our residents are secure and supported, including our immigrant and refugee communities, who are among the most vulnerable to the impact of this pandemic.”

“Here in Chicago, saying ‘we are all in this together’ means that during this crisis, no one gets left out and no one gets left behind,” she said.

Undocumented immigrants do not meet the criteria for state unemployment insurance or the stimulus checks the federal government is sending out to every American as part of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill Congress passed.

However, non-citizen residents will be able to receive benefits through Chicago’s Housing Assistance Grant program, learning resources through Chicago public schools, and will have access to the $100 million Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund.

Up to 280,000 undocumented immigrants worked in Illinois in 2018, most of them in the Chicago area, according to a WBEZ analysis of census data.

Illinois reported 73 coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, the state’s highest number of deaths from the virus in a single day, as the total number of cases in the state passed 13,500.

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