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Garcetti Announces Relief For Businesses, Calls For Action To Help Immigrants Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — In his Wednesday evening briefing on the city's coronavirus response, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced new relief measures for businesses and called for state and federal governments to do more to protect immigrants — regardless of legal status.

In addition to programs to house the homeless, Garcetti announced new efforts to help those struggling to pay rent, keep their businesses opens and feed their families.

"The relief legislation establishes two types of loans: economic injury — disaster loans — and the paycheck protection program," Garcetti said. "You've probably heard it, it's described as PPP, and there's a lot of confusion about which one is right and which one to apply to. On top of that frustration, many businesses, they're going to banks and they're being told they don't qualify."

Because of that, Garcetti announced a new partnership between the city, county, private sector and volunteers to help provide small businesses with help applying for federal loans.

"We've gotta be fast," Garcetti said. "We've got to be knowledgeable, and we have to assume that a lot of people don't know how to go through the red tape of the applications."

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The CARES Corp will connect with businesses virtually to walk them through the application process for the loans and help them figure out which ones are best for their individual cases.

"I want our small businesses to know that our city is here to help, but I also want to send that message to our immigrant and undocumented communities as well, because they have been bypassed by Washington," Garcetti said. "They are an integral part of our city. They pay taxes, but besides through their children maybe getting some additional snap or food stamps, there is nothing that has been passed by Washington to assist those workers."

Garcetti called on Congress to come back to the table and provide relief to the estimated 2.5 million undocumented immigrants in California, including the estimated 375,000 in Los Angeles alone.

"Countywide, we estimate there's about 650,000 undocumented workers who today may not be working.," he said. "Over half of their jobs are endangered by the COVID-19 crisis, and it's estimated that at a minimum, a quarter of them will be lost."

The mayor applauded Gov. Gavin Newsom's announcement of $50 million in microloans to small businesses, including those owned by immigrants not eligible for federal relief.

"And I'm very encouraged and want to think Gov. Newsom for working with the legislature on a package for undocumented immigrants," Garcetti said.

Though the mayor said more needs to be done to protect immigrant families.

"Families in need don't have time to wait for a lifeline, they need one right now," he said. "And let's be clear, folks, if we don't have immigrants spending on main street, our entire economy won't come back."

RELATED: Over 320 LA County Healthcare Workers Test Positive For Coronavirus

Garcetti announced that he and other mayors across the California were again calling on the state to retroactively extend the California Earned Income Tax Credit to all Californians — regardless of their immigration status.

"We are all in this together," he said. "Every life matters and every person matters. We need to make sure we are in this boat together."

"This is a common sense and compassionate action, and I hope we can all get behind this regardless of our party, regardless of our zip code, regardless of our ethnicity, we all need to help," Garcetti said.

Garcetti also spoke out against discrimination and hate crimes against members of the Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

"There is no excuse for that and it will be dealt with and prosecuted," he said. "Please report any such anti-Asian hate crimes that we see report any hate crimes ever, but in particular during this crisis."

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