Los Angeles wants to pay people who test positive for coronavirus to quarantine – even if they are in the country illegally.
City councillor David Ryu has proposed setting aside $25million for the ‘salary replacement’ scheme, which would pay to keep people at home for two weeks.
While California has already brought in sick leave laws that guarantees money to workers who stay home, undocumented migrants cannot qualify for the scheme.
Since migrants are statistically more likely to get coronavirus and more likely to work jobs which require face-to-face interaction, Ryu argues that excluding those who are here illegally from the scheme does not make sense.
To qualify, Ryu says people must submit to a coronavirus test and must provide information to contact tracers to help slow the pandemic down.
In his motion, filed Wednesday, he says 50 per cent of people are currently refusing to give information to the tracers, hampering efforts to bend the curve of infection.
The homeless and those with criminal records could also qualify for the payments, Ryu said.
‘It is incumbent on the City of Los Angeles to safeguard the safety and wellbeing of all, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, or immigration status,’ he added.
California has been providing free hotel rooms to homeless people with coronavirus so they can be quarantined.
The state has seen its daily coronavirus infection totals soar in the last two months, from an average of 2,553 cases per day in the week up to May 30, to an average of 9,859 in the week up to July 25.
That forced governor Gavin Newsom to reimpose lockdown in some areas, and to cancel the planned opening of indoor restaurants, bars and gyms.
Los Angeles was hit with tougher measures that included closing houses of worship, hair salons and malls after emerging as the worst-hit region in the state.
Overall, America has now confirmed more than 4.4million cases of the virus, by far the world’s highest total, and has seen more than 150,000 people die.