Does the Governor’s budget meet urgent immigrant needs?

This year California is operating with a $15 billion surplus because Wall Street did significantly better than main street in 2020. The wealthiest Californians thrived during this pandemic, while low-income families and workers barely survived. After last week’s proposed state budget, the surplus provides our state legislators and governor a chance to propose bold policies that could boost economic recovery for those most affected. Key investments in health equity, the safety net, and worker justice will support immigrant and low-income communities, and spur long-term state fiscal growth.

While Governor Newsom’s recently proposed budget, on January 8, prioritizes important investments in immigrant communities, such as state stimulus with cash assistance to those who qualify for the CalEITC, continued funding for legal services for immigrants, and small small business grants, many families will still be forced to choose between their personal health and economic security.

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across California and communities navigate an economic downturn that has left many vulnerable or unemployed, the state’s budget must ensure every Californian is able to recover and thrive. The proposed budget continues to delay Medi-Cal expansions to undocumented seniors who are uniquely vulnerable to COVID-19. Many workers and families excluded from federal relief and the full extent of state relief, continue to struggle and this year’s budget continues to shut undocumented workers out of safety net programs such as unemployment insurance, wage replacement, and debt forgiveness for those struggling to pay rent.

Although we have seen our nation split apart by white nationalism and xenophobia, we have also seen the power of our collective organizing across the nation. After years of education and activation, Georgia voters went to the polls and ushered in historic change. In California, our fight for economic justice expanded the CalEITC to include ITIN filers—low-income immigrant workers and families who had been left out of a critical poverty fighting credit—after a multi-year campaign. These are reminders that when we come together and harness our diverse power, we can push for progressive, inclusive and equitable policies that truly create a California for all. This year we will continue to fight for policies that include all immigrant workers, health care for everyone regardless of status, and a strong, accessible social safety net.

In Solidarity,
Orville Thomas
Director of Government Affairs

CIPC Campaigns

Health4All: The governor’s administration continues to focus on curbing the spread of the coronavirus. This includes proposed budget expenditures for testing, contact tracing, and ramping up vaccine distribution—some of which is subsidized by federal funding. Nearly 80% of all Californians who have died from COVID-19 in 2020 were seniors, age 65 or older. Almost a year into a pandemic whose heaviest burden has fallen on low-income Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC) communities and older adults, comprehensive health coverage and preventative care for low-income immigrant seniors should be a cardinal priority.

And yet, the budget proposal does not include a commitment to cover all income-eligible seniors ages 65 and older, regardless of immigration status, in Medi-Cal, as originally embraced in last year’s proposed budget. The Governor’s statements about the budget pay much lip service to the centrality of racial equity in the state’s recovery and the need to focus on our aging population most vulnerable during the pandemic, while in the same breath citing budget constraints in response to direct questions raised about why immigrant seniors remain left behind. These glaringly contradictory messages belie the “equitable” pandemic response that California’s immigrant communities await.

As a reminder, last year’s final 2020-2021 budget deal stated that Medi-Cal expansion for undocumented seniors could be implemented only on the condition that the Department of Finance (DOF), in making budget projections for an upcoming fiscal year, determines that the balance in the Special Fund for Economic Uncertainty (a state fund of general reserves) exceeds the estimated cost of the expansion for the upcoming fiscal year as well as three subsequent years.

This indefinite delay of Health4All Seniors allows historically discriminatory policies to remain in place and keeps undocumented seniors locked out of accessing life-saving care when they are at highest risk of COVID-19. Despite the current fiscal challenges, our state’s response to this pandemic must be one grounded in equity, or it will fail to shield already marginalized Californians from the devastating impact of the crisis. By balancing the budget at the expense of this community, our state leaders will exacerbate the deep health and economic disparities that plague our state. CIPC and the Health4All Coalition will continue to lead the charge for this health care expansion—now even more critical—to be implemented as soon as possible.

CalEITC and State Stimulus: Last year, the CalEITC coalition was successful in removing the harmful exclusion of ITIN filers from the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) and Young Child Tax Credit. Beginning January 1, 2021, anyone who files their taxes with an ITIN and earned less than $30,000 in 2020 can be eligible to receive up to $3,982 from the CalEITC and Young Child Tax Credit, depending on income and the number of children in their household. Find out how much money you could get from the CalEITC. For more information on the new expansion or how to claim the credit, check out CIPC’s NEW CalEITC Factsheets.

In this year’s budget, Governor Newsom proposed that everyone who receives the CalEITC would also get an additional $600, as part of a new Golden State Stimulus program for COVID-19 relief. ITIN filers could receive this payment and the CalEITC when they file their 2020 tax return. The Legislative Analyst’s Office, which reviews the Governor’s budget proposal, suggested that the Governor and Legislature could go even further to target resources to people left out of federal relief by providing up to $1800 in tax credits specifically for ITIN filers.

We know that the state needs to do so much more to make sure everyone, regardless of status, is able to get critical financial resources to take care of themselves and their families. This is an immensely important step and CIPC will be advocating alongside community partners for additional investments to undocumented workers and families.

One California: The Governor’s proposed budget maintains $75 million to the California Department of Social Services for qualified immigration services to immigrants—including deportation defense, naturalization, and counsel for unaccompanied minors—and other immigration-related legal services. This critical investment includes continuing funding for legal services to students, faculty and staff at the California Community Colleges (CCCs), California State University campuses (CSUs) and the University of California system (UCs).

The budget proposes $5 million one-time General Fund dollars 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.

Learn more about the Health4All campaign at to learn about how

Read the Governor’s Proposed Budget.

Additional Details of the Governor’s Proposed Budget:


  • CalAIM (California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal): The budget proposes $1.1 billion ($532 million General Fund) to implement the CalAIM initiative, effective Jan. 1, 2022, which would increase to $1.5 billion ($755.5 million) in 2023-2024. CalAIM would introduce new ideas to make Medi-Cal more seamless and tailor services and payment reforms to better meet the unique needs of beneficiaries and improve health outcomes.
  • Office of Health Care Affordability: In order to establish the new Office of Healthcare Affordability in 2021-2022, the governor allocated $11.2 million and will double the annual investment for subsequent years. Among its various charges, this office will develop cost targets for all sectors of the health care industry and penalties to enforce compliance, report quality performance and equity metrics across the entire health care system, and address regional/geographic health disparities.
  • Master Plan for Aging and related investments: The governor has proposed $252 million to implement top priorities identified in the state’s recently released 10-year Master Plan for Aging as well as a range of other investments to support aging Californians. Despite explicit acknowledgement that “older Black, Latinx, and Pacific Islander Californians have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” the Master Plan for Aging fails to address the needs of undocumented seniors.
  • Medi-Cal caseload and expenditure adjustments: The January budget proposal has $5.4 billion ($1.7 billion General Fund) in 2020-2021 and $13.5 billion ($4.3 billion General Fund) for increased Medi-Cal enrollment attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. This reflects a $1.2 billion decrease in Medi-Cal expenditures in 2020-2021 compared to projections made in the 2020 Budget Act.
  • Telehealth: The proposed budget allocates $95 million ($34 million General Fund) to expand and make permanent certain flexibilities for Medi-Cal providers authorized during COVID-19. These flexibilities will make preventative services through Medi-Cal more accessible, especially for vulnerable and hard-to-reach communities.
  • The governor’s proposed budget also includes $1.7 million in 2021-2022 to conduct an analysis of the intersection of COVID-19, health disparities, and health equity to help inform future response.

Human Services

  • Food Banks: The Governor’s proposed budget has a $30 million General Fund one-time allocation to increase program base levels for Emergency Food Assistance Program providers, food banks, tribes, and tribal organizations to address food needs among food insecure populations. Immigrants, regardless of status, can access food through their local food banks.
  • California Food Assistance Program (CFAP): The proposed budget includes a $11.4 million General Fund one-time allocation for CFAP households to receive the maximum allowable allotment based on household size.
  • California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs): The Governor’s proposed budget would fund $50 million for a 1.5% increase in CalWORKs Maximum Aid Payment levels effective Oct. 1, 2021. Despite decreasing caseloads every year since 2010-2011, average monthly CalWORKs caseloads are estimated to increase by 19% from 2020-2021 to 2021-2022.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/State Supplemental Program (SSP) & Cash Assistance Program for Aged Blind, and Disabled Immigrants (CAPI): The budget proposes $2.7 billion in the General Fund for the SSI/SSP and CAPI programs in 2021-2022. The average monthly caseload in this program is estimated to be 1.18 million recipients in 2021-2022, a 1.1% decrease from the 2020-2021 projection. Effective Jan. 2021, the maximum SSI/SSP and CAPI grant levels are $955 per month for individuals and $1,598 per month for couples.
  • The Governor proposes $11.4 million in the CA Assistance Program for refugees.

Economic Justice

  • California Dream Fund: The budget proposal includes $35 million for the California Dream Fund, which builds off of last year’s SEED initiative and will support microgrants up to $10,000 for entrepreneurship and small business development. These funds would be targeted for communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and would be made available through small business technical assistance centers.
  • Workforce Development and Adult Education: The budget proposal includes: $250 million to support proposals for linking higher education to employment opportunities, $20 million to expand work-based learning programs at community colleges, $13 million for expanding UC medical education programs, and $15 million for the California Apprenticeship Initiative. The proposal also calls for an additional $25 million for the California Workforce Development Board to expand its “High Road Training Partnership” program, with $8.5 million for construction apprenticeships, $6.5 million for wildfire prevention trainings jobs, $4 million for healthcare training, $4 million for a pilot youth training program in logistics, and $2 million for cybersecurity apprenticeships.
    • Workers’ Rights Enforcement: The budget proposal includes $23 million for the Department of Industrial Relations to hire additional Cal/OSHA workplace safety inspectors, investigate workplaces that violate COVID-19 guidelines, regulate businesses for adequate PPE stockpiles, and support workers who contract COVID-19 in the workplace to access workers’ compensation benefits.
    • Small Business Recovery: The budget proposal calls for an additional $575 million to provide relief grants up to $25,000 for small businesses, nonprofits, and small cultural institutions, to be administered by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). The budget proposal also includes $71 million to provide fee waivers to cosmetology workers and restaurant and bar owners impacted by imposed health and safety restrictions, an additional $100 million for a hiring tax credit for small businesses to encourage hiring new employees and rehiring former employees, and an additional $100 million for the state’s IBank loan programs.
    • Economic Development: The budget proposal calls for an additional $90 million to provide tax credits to businesses to locate or stay in California, and an additional $250 million in grants to incentivize increased business investment in California. The budget proposal says that at least $50 million of these grants will be dedicated to “high-need, high-opportunity” areas of the state. However, it remains unclear how these funds would target businesses disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
    • Financial Aid: The budget proposes $250 million in emergency financial support for full-time, low-income students who lost employment due to the pandemic, an additional $100 million to support community college students experiencing housing and food insecurity, and $40.6 million to support students with remote learning and mental health services. The budget proposal also includes an additional $35 million to increase the number of Cal Grants, and a requirement that all high school seniors complete a FAFSA or California Dream Act application beginning in the 2021-2022 academic year.
  • Eviction Protection: The governor proposes $11.7 million to process an increase of eviction cases and small claims filings when the state’s COVID-19 tenant protections expire on January 31, 2021. The governor notes that his administration will also be seeking to extend eviction protections past the expiration date.
  • Department of Better Jobs and Higher Wages: Similar to the governor’s budget proposal last year, this year’s budget proposal again calls for creating a new Department of Better Jobs and Higher Wages, to consolidate different departments within the Labor and Workforce Development Agency.

Detention and Deportations

    • California State Prisons: California’s adult prison population has steadily declined over the past several years allowing the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to phase out private in-state correctional contract facilities, begin closing state-run facilities and to make crucial investments in the rehabilitation, reentry, and health of California’s incarcerated population. The budget proposes $13.1 billion in funding for CDCR, which would allow the state to terminate its final in-state private correctional contract by May 2021, close the Deuel Vocational Institution by September 2021, expand access to remote rehabilitative programming, and improve the department’s health care services, including increased access to mental health, medical, and dental care.
    • Juvenile Justice: The budget proposes a one-time allocation of $9.6 million for county probation departments to develop appropriate placements and rehabilitative programs. An additional $46.5 million is allocated to support implementation of SB 823.
  • Proposition 47 Savings: The Department of Finance estimates net General Fund savings of $114.8 million, which will be allocated across grants to recidivism reduction programs, dropout prevention programs, and victims’ services, in accordance with Prop 47.
  • Use of Force Investigations: The budget proposal includes a $13 million General Fund allocation to support implementation of AB 1506. This funding will go towards the investigations of officer-involved shootings that in the past have resulted in the death of unarmed civilians.
  • Reparations Task Force: The proposed budget allocates $1.1 million General Fund dollars to support the Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans, with a Special Consideration for African Americans Who are Descendants of Persons Enslaved in the United States.