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ICIRR Applauds New State COVID Emergency Project: Project Shows State Commitment to Immigrant Inclusion

In a great victory for immigrants and for our entire state, the State of Illinois is renewing its COVID-19 Immigrant Family Support Project (IFSP) to provide financial help for immigrants and others who have so far been excluded from federal tax rebates and other assistance. The project, to be administered by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, will offer $20 million for payments to households of low-income undocumented immigrants who have lost income and do not qualify for unemployment insurance or the IRS economic impact payments.

The $20 million IFSP fund builds on the progress made this past spring when the Illinois Department of Human Services provided $2 million for immediate assistance to vulnerable immigrants. Those funds were expended within 24 hours and were dispersed fully in June, so great was the need.

Payments will be available through an online application process until all the funds are depleted. Applicants may apply to the IFSP through an online lottery through October 19, 2020. Recipients who satisfy eligibility requirements will be selected randomly to receive a $1,000 assistance award.  More information regarding the fund is available at

“All of us are in this together. When we say all, we mean all, regardless of where you were born.  Illinois is continuing its commitment to be a welcoming state regardless of what Trump’s xenophobic agenda puts in place,” said ICIRR executive director Lawrence Benito. “This announcement recognizes that we take care of each other in this state. Immigrants have been on the front line in ensuring we have food on our tables and healthcare for ourselves and our families.  Yet the federal government has excluded many of our families from assistance.  This project will help our families and communities sustain themselves the next few months as we get through this pandemic.”

IFSP has helped families like Claudio’s in downstate Fairmont City. Claudio’s wife Margarita passed away from COVID-19 on June 20. Margarita had been suffering from respiratory illnesses for a while and unfortunately did not survive after two weeks in the hospital. Margarita left behind two daughters ages 10 and 2.  Claudio was unable to work during the two weeks Margarita was in the hospital, and then became sick for a few days.  Thanks to ICIRR program partner Puentes de Esperanza, Claudio applied for IFSP last June, and was very happy to get the news he had been approved.   He is using the IFSP payment to get diapers, food, clothes, and shoes for his daughters.

In renewing the COVID-19 Immigrant Family Support Project, Illinois joins California and Oregon in providing relief to immigrant families, and cements its standing as welcoming for all.  The project reflects the Pritzker administration’s ongoing commitment to our state’s immigrants, as the Governor himself demonstrated by appearing at ICIRR’s summit in February and by signing bills such as the RISE Act and the Keep Immigrant Families Together Act.

ICIRR advocated for an emergency immigrant relief fund in our Everybody In platform, which calls for federal, state, and local action to meet the needs of immigrant communities during and beyond the pandemic.  “Our state has taken action where the federal government has failed,” Benito added.  “Now it is the federal government’s turn to make sure that immigrants are fully included in whatever further relief it enacts.  The coronavirus does not distinguish by immigration status--and neither should basic assistance for our communities.”

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a statewide coalition of more than 100 organizations dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society. For more information, visit


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