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More than a check: MAF provides UBI+ for immigrant families, largest in nation

Have you seen the price of gas lately? My jaw almost dropped when I saw it climb past $6 and stay there.

Gas, food, housing — everything — is getting more expensive this year. Inflation is rising at its fastest rate in 40 years. Everyone is feeling the strain, but the people who are feeling the greatest pressure from inflation are the same people who always get left out, like the ones who were excluded from stimulus checks and the expanded Child Tax Credit. 

Undocumented families are routinely excluded from social safety net programs, despite the crisis of the moment or personal hardships they may be living through.

Millions of immigrant families are simply left to fend for themselves. Without income, people spiraled into debt during the pandemic, and now inflation is threatening their precarious economic recovery.

“We really need the help,” Rosa, a mother and MAF client, told us. “My husband had a heart attack about 4 months ago. He is still recovering and I am the only one who works part time. I have a 3 year old son and he needs things: clothes, shoes, food.” Families like Rosa’s need a little help to weather these storms, especially if they may be rebuilding from prior ones, barely recovering from one crisis before the next hits.

At MAF, we launched the nation’s largest UBI+ program for immigrants to help families recover faster.

We’re partnering with 3,000 immigrant families across the country as they rebuild their financial lives in the wake of the pandemic. Together, we’re learning what it will take to help people recover faster and prepare for what comes next. 

The Immigrant Families Recovery Program is providing $400 a month to immigrant families left out of federal COVID-19 relief for up to two years. This $30 million program is designed to deepen engagement with families we supported during the pandemic. To build back faster, we are providing participants with self-advocacy training to help them weather what may come next. And, we’re investing in research, engaging with a comparison group of 1,750 families to help us understand the true impact of cash aid and financial education. Follow along with us as we share research insights to pave the way for future change.

More than 1,600 families are enrolled and receiving their monthly payments. We are on track to complete enrollment by the end of summer. Families throughout the country in California, Texas, New York, and beyond have enrolled in the program, receiving monthly cash payments and relevant financial services. And we’re partnering with a coalition of San Mateo County groups, Daly City, and other localities to reach immigrant families in their communities.

Monthly cash payments can be transformational for families.

“We have put off a lot of necessities for a very long time in order to just take care of the basics. We try hard to not have our kids feel burdened or that they’re missing out, but it’s a struggle,” Sergio says. “I would love to be able to buy them music lessons, pay for a personal therapist for myself, invest in a college fund and start an emergency savings account too.” 

MAF’s UBI+ program for immigrant families is more than a check — it’s a recognition of their human dignity, a message that they matter and deserve security and opportunity to thrive in this world too.