New basic income pilot expands access to immigrant families | The Optimist Daily
Today’s Solutions: June 21, 2024

From boosting infant brain activity to generally improving people’s quality of life, there are many cases documenting the benefits of implementing guaranteed basic income programs. Inspired by the growing body of evidence about these benefits, a new pilot project in New Mexico will soon study its effects on undocumented and mixed-status families.

Testing basic income among immigrant families

The new program will unconditionally provide 330 people from groups that are often left out of traditional relief policies, such as stimulus checks, with $500 a month for twelve months. Funded by philanthropic donations, the pilot project will include surveys with participants and a report on the effects of cash assistance on undocumented or mixed-status immigrant families, reports Fast Company.

The target group involves people who are often deemed as ineligible for benefits like expanded unemployment, stimulus checks, and child tax credits—benefits that were crucial for the livelihoods of many Americans during the pandemic.

Addressing needs in frontline communities

In a recent survey of 1,000 Hispanic adults, 25 percent of which were immigrants, half of the respondents reported having $1,000 or less for financial emergencies, and more than a quarter said they had gone through those savings or had taken a loan, as a result of the Covid pandemic.

“We know that immigrant workers, despite disproportionately being on the frontline of those industries that kept the state and the nation going during the pandemic, they’re left out of millions of dollars in economic relief programs,” said Amber Wallin of New Mexico Voices for Children, one of the nonprofits running the pilot project.

To be able to enter the program, applicants must be part of an undocumented or mixed immigrant status family, live in one of 13 chosen New Mexico counties, and be the parent of at least one child under 18 or an adult dependent with a disability. The recipients will be randomly selected, with payments beginning in March 2022.

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