January 14, 2022
Happy New Year! With the start of 2022 comes a new legislative and budget
season. On Monday, the Governor released his proposed budget, which includes vital investments in the health, safety, and wellbeing of all Californians. We applaud the Governor and our legislative champions in helping all of us move one step closer to meaningfully addressing the needs of low-income immigrants in our state.
A number of highlights from the budget include:
Providing funds to allow income-eligible adults ages 26 to 49 to access full-scope Medi-Cal regardless of immigration status, making California the first in the nation in providing health insurance to all low-income state residents.
Taking a huge step towards eradicating hunger by providing all income eligible Californians ages 55 and older access to food under California’s Food Assistance Program (CFAP), regardless of immigration status. Investing more deeply in workforce development services directed toward immigrant communities, with an allocation of more than $250 million.
As we head into year three of the pandemic and an election cycle impacted by redistricting, we will continue to champion bold, progressive policies that ensure no Californian is left behind. We look forward to further increasing fair access to Medi Cal and CFAP, and supporting workers and families through a wage replacement program for immigrants who have been continually excluded.
Now is the time for California to invest in long-term transformative change. This includes addressing systemic exclusions that have laid the heaviest health and economic burdens on low-income and immigrant communities. With an estimated $31 billion surplus, our state has the opportunity to remove unjust exclusions, ensuring a state where everyone has access to what they need to thrive.
Let’s do this together! Support our campaigns with a donation today!
Connie Choi Policy Director
Nine years ago, the Health4All coalition set an ambitious goal: to be the first and only state to make its Medicaid program (Medi-Cal) inclusive of all who call California home, regardless of immigration status. Over the years, we built the community power necessary to win Medi-Cal for kids, young adults, and older adults. This week, the Governor unveiled a budget plan that proposes to close the gap once and for all beginning January 2024. The proposal includes $819.3 million in 2023-24 and $2.7 billion annually at full implementation to make income eligible adults ages 26 to 49 eligible for full-scope Medi Cal, regardless of immigration status. This marks a pivotal moment in the history of immigrant rights—in California and the nation. To all who have organized tirelessly for #Health4All, CIPC extends our appreciation and congratulations! Stay tuned for more about how we’ll celebrate this momentous win!
The Governor took another unprecedented step toward making our social safety net more inclusive by proposing to make California Food Assistance Program (CFAP), the state-funded counterpart to CalFresh, available to income-eligible Californians ages 55 and older, regardless of immigration status, beginning in 2023. The budget proposal allocates $35.2 million General Fund for planning purposes, increasing to $113.4 million General Fund annually in 2025-26. We are thrilled to see this investment but will need your support as CIPC and the Food4All coalition continue to build on it—until all Californians have access to nutrition assistance that ensures they can put food on the table.bout how we’ll celebrate this momentous win!
While the Governor’s budget proposal includes significant, historic investments for immigrant communities, we cannot ignore the fact that immigrant workers have been the most heavily impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic and are still excluded from unemployment benefits. CIPC and the Safety Net for All coalition is advocating for an Excluded Worker program, which would provide $300 a week for up to 20 weeks to immigrant workers who lose their job and are excluded from Unemployment Insurance. This proposal was not included in the Governor’s budget proposal, but as the Governor said on Monday, “this is a proposal, and this proposal will be considered in light of the challenges today, and we will be back in light of the challenges that present themselves tomorrow.”
CalAIM: The California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) Initiative is a bold, long-term commitment to making the care delivered to Medi-Cal beneficiaries more equitable, coordinated, and person-centered and to reduce health disparities. It includes a wide array of reforms and initiatives that address social determinants of health and focus on traditionally overlooked populations, including justice-involved individuals, those experiencing homelessness, and those with serious behavioral health conditions.
CalAIM implementation was delayed last year due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, but the Governor’s proposed budget includes $435.5 million in 2021-22, $982.6 million in 2022-23, $876.4 million in 2023-24, and $500 million in 2024-25 from General Fund dollars to begin rolling out CalAIM initiatives.
Medi-Cal Provider Equity Payments: The budget proposal includes a one-time $200 million General Fund allocation for provider payments focused on advancing equity in children’s preventive, maternity, and integrated behavioral health care.
Office of Health Care Affordability: Another initiative postponed due to the pandemic, the budget proposal reappropriates $30 million General Fund to establish the Office of Health Care Affordability. Among its various charges, this office will develop cost targets for all sectors of the healthcare industry and penalties to enforce compliance, report quality performance and equity metrics across the entire health care system, and address regional/geographic health disparities.
CalWORKs: California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) is California’s version of the federal TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) program and provides temporary cash assistance and welfare-to-work services to low income families with children. Unfortunately, undocumented and many lawfully present immigrants are ineligible for CalWORKs.
The budget proposes a 7.1% increase in CalWORKs grants starting October 1, 2022, with an estimated cost of $200.7 million in 2022-23. This would put the monthly grant amount for a family of four at $1,195.
SSI/SSP & CAPI: The federal SSI (Supplemental Security Income) program provides a monthly cash benefit to individuals with disabilities who meet the program’s income and resource requirements. In California, the SSI payment is augmented with a SSP (State Supplementary Payment) grant. These cash grants help recipients meet their basic needs and living expenses. The state-funded CAPI (Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants) provides monthly cash benefits to aged, blind, and disabled individuals who are ineligible for SSI/SSP due solely to their immigration status (sadly, undocumented and some lawfully present immigrants are ineligible for both SSI/SSP and CAPI). CAPI benefits are equivalent to SSI/SSP benefits.
The budget proposes $3.1 billion General Fund in 2022-23 for the SSI/SSP program, putting the maximum grant levels at $1,040 per month for individuals and $1,766 per month for couples. The budget also assumes an SSP increase of 24% effective January 1, 2024, resulting in an estimated $296 million General Fund in 2023-24 and $593 million ongoing.
Workforce Development: The Governor’s budget proposal calls for more than $250 million in workforce development services directed toward immigrant communities. This includes $30 million for an expansion of English Language Learner (ELL) pilots; $20 million to expand workplace literacy training for workers; $10 million for immigrant youth earn-and-learn programs through community colleges and community organizations; $130 million to support health care careers for people learning English, and $60 million to expand scholarships and loan repayments in healthcare and social work for multilingual applicants. These are huge successes building on years of work to expand access to job training and careers for our communities!
Workers’ Rights: The budget includes $1.4 million in ongoing investments to improve awareness and enforcement of workplace rights. This includes $716,000 and four positions for the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to focus on collecting and analyzing pay data, and $650,000 for the Department of Industrial Relations to provide worker rights outreach and education.
CalEITC and Young Child Tax Credit: The Young Child Tax Credit provides up to $1000 for families with children under the age of six regardless of immigration status. The Governor’s proposal calls for removing the earnings requirement for the Young Child Tax Credit, growing the credit with inflation, and establishing a new credit for former foster youth.
Economic Growth: To support immigrant-led economic growth, the Governor’s budget proposes $600,000 in 2022-23, and $200,000 annually in following years, to increase the availability and translation of Business Quick Start Guides and professional licensing navigational guides to support immigrants looking to start their own business and enter into new industries. The budget also includes $150,000 to support statewide convening and coordination, $2 million for targeted programs to assist immigrant entrepreneurs and small businesses with successfully exporting their goods.
Our current criminal legal system disproportionately harms Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color, and immigrant communities. California has a long way to go to correct for historical injustices and the criminalization of black and brown people. CIPC is committed to creating and implementing programs that support immigrant communities and address the inequities and harm entrenched in our current system. We will continue to work towards dismantling the unchecked powers of the Sheriff, an elected official, who is instrumental in placing immigrants in the arrest to deportation pipeline.
The Governor’s budget contains several items related to incarceration and law enforcement that we will be tracking, including:
COVID in Prisons: The budget includes a one-time allocation of $424.7 million to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) for COVID-19 prevention, mitigation, and response activities, an increase from the $408 million allocated in 2021.
Health Care for Incarcerated People: The budget includes $3.8 billion for mental health, medical, and dental care services for incarcerated people.
Returning Home Well Program: $10.6 million would be allocated annually for three years to this Program, which provides emergency transitional housing services to people at risk of being unhoused upon release.
CDCR Staff Misconduct: The budget includes $5.3 million in 2021-22, $35.6 million in 2022‐23, and $34.2 million ongoing for CDCR to implement a new process to handle complaints of staff misconduct filed by people who are incarcerated. The Office of Inspector General will be funded to provide oversight and monitoring of this new staff complaint process.
Law Enforcement Funding: Law enforcement (police departments, County Sheriffs, probation departments, California Highway Patrol, District Attorneys and the Department of Justice) would receive $356 million over three years, including $132 million in 2022-23 to “crack down” on retail theft.
Wrongful Conviction Compensation: The budget allocates $7 million to provide resources and an expedited process to compensate people who have been erroneously convicted of a crime.
Divesting and Investing: An estimated $147.3 million in savings from Prop 47, which reallocated funds from prison reductions to community programs, will be used to support programs such as mental health and substance use treatment services and victims’ services.
One California: The Governor’s budget maintains an ongoing allocation of $43.7 million from the General Fund to the California Department of Social Services to support legal services, as well as education and outreach, to low-income immigrant Californians.
New Office of Community Partnerships and Strategic Communications: The budget includes $65 million in ongoing General Fund allocations to create the Office of Community Partnerships and Strategic Communications – formalizing infrastructure created by Census 2020 and COVID-19 public awareness and community engagement campaigns. Housed in the Office of Planning and Research (OPR), this new office seeks to engage Californians experiencing the “greatest health and social inequities” – including immigrant communities – with culturally competent and relevant information. This includes providing funding opportunities and programs to support community needs or interests; helping CBOs obtain information from state departments; and sharing community insights with relevant departments.
Resource Navigation: The budget includes $8.7 million in grant funding for local governments to provide technical assistance to immigrant communities in navigating state and local resources.
Border Communities: Critical COVID-19 pandemic response and humanitarian efforts led by the California Department of Public Health at the California-Mexico border, including but not limited to temporary sheltering, testing, vaccines, and support services, would receive an additional $74 million in one-time funding under the Governor’s budget.
The budget also includes $11.6 million General Fund in 2022-23, and $500,000 annually thereafter, for the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) to support statewide coordination for immigrant inclusion efforts, and to propel innovation and economic development activities, including at the California-Mexico border.