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Celebrating Historic Investments Towards Immigrant Equity: The 2022-2023 State Budget and Implications for Immigrant Communities

On Sunday, the Governor and state legislature released their 2022-2023 budget agreement, which sets out how the state will spend over $300 billion. The centerpiece of the agreement includes a $17 billion “inflation relief package,” which will offer tax refunds to millions of working Californians and to individuals making as much as half a million dollars. While we still have work to do, we’re excited to share that there’s a lot to celebrate!

The agreement incorporates important measures to address the needs of low-income immigrant communities throughout the state. The state budget plan makes historic, groundbreaking investments for low-income immigrant communities by removing exclusions to Medi-Cal and also expanding the California Food Assistance Program to people over 55, regardless of immigration status (more details on these historic steps are below). 

Our fight is far from over. With growing inflation compounding the residual impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, immigrant communities have become increasingly vulnerable. The budget misses critical opportunities to ensure the full inclusion of all Californians, regardless of immigration status. For example, we are disappointed that funding for unemployment benefits for excluded immigrant workers and food assistance for income-eligible Californians below 55 years old were not included in this current state budget plan. 

CIPC, along with our partners, will continue advocating for full inclusion of our immigrant neighbors and friends. Just like we worked together to make #Health4All a reality, we will continue to push for what is outlined in our Immigrant Equity Budget to ensure that California is equitable for all. Our work continues. 

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CIPC’s Immigrant Equity Budget Campaigns 


This year, California made history by becoming the first state in the nation to offer comprehensive health benefits to all income-eligible undocumented adults. The state budget this year includes funding to remove exclusions to health care for income-eligible undocumented Californians ages 26-49, closing the age gap in #Health4All. This victory is the result of nearly a decade of dedicated advocacy, and CIPC is grateful to the Health4All coalition, our legislative champions, and state leadership for making this possible. 

In California, undocumented adults make up the largest remaining uninsured group. This state budget plan includes $834 million ($625 million from the General Fund) in 2023-24 and $2.6 billion ($2.1 billion in General Funds) each fiscal year after that to close this gap, beginning January 1, 2024. This proposal would finally end the exclusion of around 700,000 income-eligible adult Californians ages 26 to 49 from full-scope Medi-Cal. This builds upon prior policies granting Medi-Cal access to kids, young adults, and older adults ages 50 and above. 

However, because this program will not be implemented until January 1, 2024, an estimated 40,000 undocumented young adults could lose full-scope Medi-Cal coverage before then due to “aging out” before the expansion to 26-year-olds goes into effect. CIPC continues to urge the administration to maintain continuity of care for these young adults, who are currently set to potentially experience a lapse in coverage. 

Sign up to join our advocacy efforts and ensure that this proposal is implemented in an equitable and timely fashion!


California will also be the first state in the nation to provide state-funded food assistance to undocumented adults! In the June final budget, the governor and the legislature agreed to provide $35.2 million, increasing to $113.4 million annually in 2025-2026, to expand the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to Californians age 55 and older, regardless of immigration status – providing critical support after years of racist exclusions. While we are thrilled to celebrate this historic step, we know our work must continue. Hundreds of thousands of Californians under the age of 55 will continue to be excluded from CalFresh and CFAP due to their immigration status, including undocumented children– 64% of whom are affected by food insecurity. 

The exact implementation date for the CFAP expansion to individuals ages 55 and older is still to be determined by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). The CFAP expansion is contingent on the completion of the state’s transition onto CalSAWS (Statewide Automated Welfare System), the new integrated eligibility and case management system that supports key public assistance programs. The human services budget trailer bill (AB 187) also includes provisions that do not prevent CFAP applicants from being asked to present a Social Security Number or meet the federal Food Stamp Program work requirement or other work requirements.  

Food assistance programs like CalFresh and CFAP reduce food insecurity, improve health, and mitigate poverty in the long-term—with an outsized impact on immigrant communities.  As rising food prices eat away at the grocery budgets of low-income California residents, the Food4All coalition will continue to advocate for the removal of ALL exclusions from CFAP, regardless of age or immigration status

We will need your support to urge the governor and legislature to invest in Food4All and create a California where we all have a plate at the dinner table. 

Sign up for updates and share your story to help us keep the drum beat going!  Please join us in celebrating this win and continuing to push for #Food4All by sharing the sample social media messages and graphics in the following #Food4All Social Media Toolkit.


The #SafetyNet4All Coalition has been working since 2020 to get the governor and the legislature to fund excluded workers in the state budget. Unfortunately, this year’s budget deal still fails to include the coalition’s proposal for an Excluded Workers 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 due to their status⁠. 

We won’t stop here. Momentum is growing for an Excluded Workers program. This year alone, 23 legislators and over 100 organizations signed on in support of the coalition’s budget proposal and on June 2, 400 worker leaders from all across the state hand delivered over 25,000 petition signatures to the governor’s office. The coalition’s bill, AB 2847, is also sailing through the legislature. Together, we’re making our call loud and clear: The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t the first, and won’t be the last crisis to put people out of work, and small, one-time payments are not enough. Our communities can’t wait any longer. We need unemployment benefits for excluded immigrant workers NOW, and we won’t stop until we win. We need your support now more than ever. Share this tweet and join us!

Budget Items Impacting Immigrant Communities

There are additional notable budget items that affect immigrant communities. We have summarized them below:  

  • Tax Rebate: The final budget deal includes a rebate for tax filers based on income and whether or not the filer claimed a dependent exemption credit. Through this rebate proposal, people earning up to $500,000 can get a tax rebate between $200 and $1,050. 
  • California Immigrant Justice Fellowship: $10 million to expand recruitment, training, and placement of a second cohort of fellows with nonprofit legal services providers. 
  • Border Rapid Response: $175 million one-time funding for Rapid Response efforts to provide additional support for migrant arrivals at the Southern California border and funding for other emergent issues, with budget bill language requiring regular reporting on expenditures. 
  • Refugee Resettlement Program (RPP): $3.1 million and 18 permanent positions to support the RRP. 
  • Young Child and Foster Youth Tax Credits: $95 million to remove the income-filing requirement for individuals seeking to apply for the Young Child Tax Credit (YCTC) and to create a Foster Youth Tax Credit to provide a $1,000 credit to young adults who were in the foster care system. 
  • Workforce Development: $20 million to expand the Integrated Education and Training for English Language Learners (ELL) program to all, regardless of immigration status; $10 million to launch a Workforce Literacy Pilot to support expanding workplace literacy in contextualized English, digital skills, and technical skills training for incumbent and newly hired workers; $10 million over 4 years for the California Youth Leadership Corps (CYLC), which will create earn-and-learn career pathway opportunities with community change organizations at 20 community colleges; and $130 million one-time Proposition 98 General Funds to support healthcare-focused vocational pathways for English language learners across all levels of English proficiency.
  • Health Navigator Program: $30 million one-time funding to extend the Health Enrollment Navigators Program administered by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) for an additional 4 years. The current pilot program was otherwise set to end after June 2022. CIPC supported a request to not only extend it but also enhance the program to boost and prioritize assistance for community members who will newly be eligible for Medi-Cal due to the Health4All expansion and will need support navigating the complex application process as well as utilizing their coverage. However, the budget did not include an allocation for these program enhancements.