A More Inclusive State Budget: What it means for immigrants; what is the impact on those left behind?

Governor Gavin Newsom released his May Revise of the state budget last week, which included vital investments to support communities left behind during the pandemic. CIPC applauds the Governor for listening to our communities, which have shouldered an undue burden during this pandemic, and addressing immigrants’ needs. None of this would have been possible without our partners, who have consistently supported our efforts. We offer a heartfelt thank you to our allies who have courageously shared your stories, called your legislators, and made your voices heard during a tremendously challenging year.

A number of highlights:

  • Thanks to the tireless and powerful efforts of the Health4All Coalition, the Governor included undocumented seniors ages 60 and above in full-scope Medi-Cal!
  • Based on the work of the Safety Net For All and CalEITC coalitions, the Governor announced stimulus support to many individuals and families shut out of federal COVID-19 relief (up to $1,000 for undocumented individuals and their families).
  • CIPC and our One California partners secured an additional investment in legal services and outreach to immigrant communities, including vital application assistance to fund immigration filing fees for Californians applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or naturalization.

Given the state’s $75 billion surplus over two years, and with the additional $26 billion in federal funding, we urge the Legislature and the Newsom administration to do more in this year’s budget to address pre-pandemic inequities. Undocumented Californians working on the front lines of the COVID pandemic have been excluded from thousands of dollars in federal aid and safety net programs. In the last year, undocumented workers have been excluded from $3,200 in federal stimulus payments, an average of $13,308 in unemployment benefits, $1,992 worth of CalFresh benefits for food assistance, and $5,000 worth of health coverage through Medi-Cal.**

With so much still on the line, and money available to fund it, we can’t stop now! Join us on May 25th for Immigrant Day of Action, where we will continue to advocate for all Californians. If California wants to roar back, then we cannot merely return to pre-pandemic conditions with systemic inequities and limited access to resources and safety net programs. We must envision and advocate for a California that uplifts the humanity and dignity of everyone who calls our state home.

In Solidarity,

Connie Choi
Policy Director

**This resource has been updated.  The data above was incorrectly attributed to the California Budget & Policy Center.  The estimates cited are from CIPC’s analysis and that of our other partners.

CIPC Campaigns

Health4All: The governor’s May Revision proposes to extend Medi-Cal coverage to all income-eligible Californians age 60 and above, regardless of their immigration status, beginning May 1, 2022. The budget includes $69 million ($50 million General Fund) in 2021-22 and $1 billion ($859 million General Fund) ongoing for this coverage, which includes In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS). The administration estimates this would newly extend full-scope coverage to roughly 80,000 individuals. CIPC celebrates this historic win, the result of tireless work by advocates and directly impacted communities to end the unjust exclusion of immigrants from Medi-Cal.

The Health4All Campaign has advocated for a more equitable and inclusive safety net for many years, but the pandemic exacerbated the urgency over the last year. We cannot ignore the low-income, undocumented Californians ages 26-59 who would remain uninsured even with the May Revise proposal. Given the state’s enormous surplus, we invite you to join us in advocating for more in this year’s budget to address coverage gaps for those who continue to go without basic health care.

Golden State Stimulus and Funding for Excluded Workers: In January, Governor Newsom announced a new Golden State Stimulus (GSS) program that would send $600-$1,200 payments to California tax filers. The Governor’s May Revision proposes a second round of the GSS, which would provide an additional $1,000 for immigrant families who file taxes with an Individual Taxpayer ID number (ITIN).

While this is an important step, the Governor’s proposal still leaves out thousands of Californians —specifically those without ITINs, ITIN filers without children, and people who do not file taxes. Additionally, it still leaves a large gap for people who are excluded from unemployment insurance and federal relief.

With strong revenue growth and $26 billion in federal funding support, CIPC joins our partners in calling on our leaders to do what the federal government should have done all along: include all residents in full COVID-19 and worker relief. We will continue to advocate with our partners to fill the stimulus gap and fund wage replacement for excluded Californians, to create a safety net for all of us.

Sign the Safety Net for All Coalition’s letter to call for equity for excluded Californians in this year’s budget.

One California: The Governor’s May Revision maintains the ongoing allocation to the California Department of Social Services for qualified immigration services to immigrants—including deportation defense, naturalization, counsel for unaccompanied minors, and other services. The budget also proposes an additional $25 million one-time investment to be used for DACA and naturalization filing fees, and devotes an additional $25 million to support legal services and programs that assist unaccompanied youth and children. This builds upon a $20 million commitment from philanthropic partners for a California Dignity for Families Fund (CDFF) to support efforts in the border region and in destination communities across the state. The budget revision also includes earmarks of $105.2 million for the Rapid Response Program to support entities that provide critical assistance and services to immigrants during emerging situations that require state funds to bridge the gap when federal funding is not available.

Despite these significant additional investments in legal services, the Governor’s May Revision fails to provide disbursements that will directly support legal services provision, outreach and education, and technical assistance. Sign onto our letter requesting additional funding to support service providers around the state.

Food4All: This year, Nourish California and CIPC launched the Food4All Campaign to change current laws that exclude Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, immigrants with status, and undocumented immigrants from CalFresh and the state-funded California Food Assistance Program (CFAP). We are disappointed that the May Revise does not address this issue and continues to exclude many immigrants from accessing vital food assistance. Check out the campaign page to learn more and join the Food4All Coalition’s ongoing efforts this legislative session.

Read the governor’s proposed budget.


Additional Details of the Governor’s May Revision Budget Proposal:


  • Medi-Cal: The May Revise proposes to implement the following targeted changes to Medi-Cal coverage aimed to reduce health outcome disparities among historically underserved communities:
  • Doula Benefit: Adds doula services as a Medi-Cal benefit beginning January 1, 2022 and includes $402,584 ($152,043 General Fund) in 2021-22 and approximately $4.4 million ($1.7 million General Fund) annually at full implementation
  • Community Health Workers (CHWs): Adds CHWs to the class of individuals who can provide Medi-Cal covered services beginning January 1, 2022 at a cost of $16.3 million ($6.2 million General Fund) in 2021-22 and increasing to $201 million ($76 million General Fund) by 2026-27
  • Medi-Cal Providing Access and Transforming Health (PATH): Includes a one-time $200 million ($100 million General Fund) to build capacity for effective pre-release care for justice-involved populations and enable coordination between Medi-Cal and justice agencies 30 days prior to release
  • Postpartum Coverage Extension: Using federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, proposes a Medicaid State Plan Amendment to extend Medi-Cal eligibility from 60 days to 12 months for all postpartum individuals for 5 years, to begin April 2022, at a cost of $90.5 million ($45.3 million General Fund) in 2021-22 and $362 million ($181 million General Fund) annually from 2022-23 to 2027-28
  • Language Access: The May Revise proposes a $20 million one-time General Fund for language access services and to develop a Health & Human Services (HHS)-wide policy framework to improve language access across programs and services.
  • Treatment and Prevention of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): The May Revise proposes a $12.4 million one-time General Fund expenditure for demonstration projects focused on researching, treating, and preventing ACEs – childhood traumas that contribute to racial and ethnic health outcomes disparities – by strengthening workforce training efforts, building a statewide stress surveillance network, and broadening the network of clinicians and providers that are equipped to treat and prevent toxic stress resulting from ACEs.

Human Services

  • CalWORKs: The May Revise proposes allocating $142.9 million for a 5.3% CalWORKs grant increase.
  • School Meals: The May Revise proposes $150 million in ongoing funding to encourage local education agencies to participate in one of the federal universal meal programs that serve breakfast and lunch at no charge to all students, regardless of immigration status.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/State Supplemental Program (SSP) & Cash Assistance Program for Aged Blind, and Disabled Immigrants (CAPI): The May Revise proposes a $2.7 billion General Fund in 2021-22 for the SSI/SSP program. Beginning January 2021, the maximum SSI/SSP grant levels are $955 per month for individuals and $1,598 per month for couples. CAPI benefits are equivalent to SSI/SSP benefits.

Economic Justice

  • Small Business, Rent, and Utility Relief: The May Revision proposes an additional $1.5 billion to provide relief to small businesses, an additional $2.6 billion for California’s COVID-19 Rent Relief Program, which will pay 100% back rent and some ongoing rent for low-income tenants, and $2 billion to cover unpaid utility debt, such as water and electricity payments.
  • California Dream Fund: The May Revision proposal continues to support microgrants up to $10,000 that will provide direct support for entrepreneurship and small business development, with a particular focus on supporting Californians who are immigrants and/or English language learners. These funds would be targeted for communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and would be made available through small business technical assistance centers starting 2021-2022.
  • Workforce Development and Adult Education: The May Revision proposes: $750 million for a Community Economic Resilience Fund, which will fund regional and local stakeholder collaboratives to plan and implement economic growth and transition strategies; $160 million for “earn and learn” programs, including an additional $90 million for High Road Training Partnerships; $20 million for residential construction apprenticeships, and $50 million for the Employment Training Panel; and $157 million to strengthen partnerships between community colleges and workforce programs. Unfortunately, the May Revision does not include funding to expand the Breaking Barriers to Employment Initiative (AB 628), which would provide grants to community organizations and local workforce boards for flexible, community-centered, and equitable workforce development programs and services.
  • Employment Development Department (EDD): The May Revision proposes $320.1 million to update, modernize, and improve the EDD and our Unemployment Insurance (UI) systems. This funding includes: $276.3 million to address backlogs; $21 million over two years to improve language access, hire multilingual access staff, update and translate forms, and provide grants to community organizations to support education and outreach; $11.4 million to train and hire UI Navigators for individuals filing claims; and $11 million over two years to develop a direct deposit option for claimants.

Detention and Deportations

  • California State Prisons: The May Revision proposes $13.6 billion for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). This funding would support ongoing COVID-19-related response activities, including regular testing, social distancing protocols, utilizing masks and other personal protective equipment, and providing extra cleaning and sanitation services. These funds will also support a pilot program at Valley State Prison (VSP) guided by Norway’s model of rehabilitation and improve CDCR’s mental healthcare infrastructure.
  • County Jails: County sheriffs will be eligible for reimbursement of services provided to individuals who are in the state prison system but are being held in county jails.
  • Statewide Initiative to Reduce Pretrial Detention: The May Revision proposes $140 million General Fund dollars in 2021-22, and $70 million ongoing, to reduce pretrial detention as much as possible across the state and allow individuals to remain with their families and in their communities as they await trial. This funding will provide all 58 county courts and supervision agencies with the resources necessary to impose the least restrictive conditions possible for individuals who would otherwise be confined in pretrial detention, while also ensuring appropriate monitoring practices are in place, and assisting individuals in returning to court.
  • California Violence Intervention and Prevention (CalVIP) Grant Program: The CalVIP program provides competitive grants to cities and community-based organizations to support local violence reduction programs, including diversion. The May Revision includes a $100 million one-time General Fund allocation for the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) to significantly expand the CalVIP Grant Program.
  • Post Release Community Supervision: The May Revision includes a one-time $23.6 million General Fund allocation for county probation departments to oversee the temporary increase in the average daily population of Californians on Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS). This temporary increase is largely due to the expansion of credit-earning programs for incarcerated Californians.
  • Use of Force Investigations: The May Revision includes a $13 million General Fund allocation to support implementation of AB 1506, which requires, unless otherwise noted, the Attorney General to investigate incidents of officer-involved shootings that result in the death of an unarmed civilian. Additionally, the budget includes a $2.3 million General Fund allocation to support the families of those killed in these incidents.