By Kaylee Pearlman
SACRAMENTO, CA – California legislation has been introduced here to “expand access to the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) to the state’s most vulnerable seniors and disabled documented population,” to undocumented immigrants.
Assemblymember Juan Carrillo (D-Palmdale) states, “Across our state, the aging, undocumented population is increasing, especially our immigrant seniors, many of whom have no retirement despite years of working in this country.”
The lawmaker added, “AB 1536 will serve as a building block on the work we have accomplished to ensure our undocumented senior population can age with dignity.”
The “state-funded program…is designed to provide a monthly cash benefit to qualified aged (65+), blind, and disabled immigrants…who are ineligible for federal SSI/SSP solely due to their immigrant status. AB 1536 will expand the current CAPI to allow access to the program regardless of immigration status,” according to the sponsor.
“These undocumented seniors 65 and older are the same seniors who have contributed significant money to our economy through taxes, household expenses and much more…I am committed to fighting for what I believe is right, which means ALL immigrants’ rights,” said Carrillo.
Executive director of CHIRLA, Angelica Salas claims, “this proposal seeks to recognize thousands of aged, blind and disabled immigrants in this state.” She continues, “….this economic aid will help support the needs of these 60,70,80 year olds who need our support at the most critical and vulnerable times of their lives.”
Assembly member Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) added, “AB 1536 comes at a time when attempts at federal immigration reform have stagnated and while other states have demonized undocumented immigrants simply for wanting a better life…undocumented immigrants are our neighbors, our fellow community members, and our friends.”
“CAPI provides essential relief for elderly and disabled Californians and it is imperative that undocumented people who are seniors and/or disabled are able to access it,” noted Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles).
Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton) said, “CAPI has uplifted some of the most vulnerable residents throughout our communities so that they can live with more meaning every day.”
Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) argues, “they [immigrants] work in the shadows providing vital and necessary services that help keep our economy running. Yet, they struggle. It’s about time that we expand access to the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants…It’s the right thing to do.”