Butte County Latinos hit hardest by pandemic City of Gridley now claims 35 percent of county's total cases

Butte County Public Health says 41 percent of the total COVID-19 cases, through June, were people identifying as Hispanic.

by Leslie Layton

Butte County’s Latino residents are becoming infected with COVID-19 at an alarmingly disproportionate rate, a reflection of the disparities surfacing throughout the nation that show low-income, immigrant and other minority communities hardest hit by the pandemic.

Figures released earlier this week to ChicoSol in response to a Public Records Act request show that people identifying as Hispanic comprised 41 percent of 164 Butte County residents who had tested positive for COVID-19 through June 28. Latinos and/or Hispanics make up less than 15 percent of the county’s population, according to estimates, but belong to what is by far the county’s largest minority group. read more

Pandemic is costly — and often violent — for women worldwide Chico volunteers address inequities on a local level

photo courtesy of DSA
Alexandra Wynter (left) brings supplies to a Chico woman living in a homeless encampment.

by Lindajoy Fenley and Leslie Layton

Alexandra Wynter is feeling optimistic – even in the middle of a global pandemic that has made a difficult life even more difficult for many women.

As a volunteer coordinator for an outreach program run by Chico’s DSA (Democratic Socialists of America), the pandemic has given her an opportunity to build relationships with unhoused women — she prefers “unhoused” to the stigma attached to “homeless” — throughout the community whose lives have been made even more precarious by the COVID-19 crisis. read more

Farmers Market keeps many vendors in business Some are struggling with the effects of the pandemic

photo by Karen Laslo
Emma Harris works her Pine Creek Flowers booth April 25, abiding by public health guidelines Farmers Market has adopted.

by Leslie Layton

For Emma Harris, the past five weeks of pandemic have meant a hard hustle.

She’s had to fashion a new business model in just weeks to keep her Chico flower farm, Pine Creek Flowers, afloat.

As the pandemic set in, she saw that her market sales were going to plummet; the spring opening of the Thursday Night Market was postponed and the Saturday crowd at the downtown Farmers Market was smaller. She says she didn’t qualify for a loan from the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program; Pine Creek Flowers doesn’t have a payroll. read more

COVID-19 stimulus package produces mixed results for those in dire need No relief yet for undocumented immigrants

EMS photo
Stacie L. Walton

by Sunita Sohrabji
EMS Contributor

SAN FRANCISCO — The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, signed into law last month, offers little relief to millions of vulnerable immigrants and low-wage workers, said panelists during a media briefing here.

The CARES Act was signed into law by President Donald Trump March 27. It was intended to help millions of workers who have lost their jobs as shelter-in-place orders are implemented around the nation to mitigate the community spread of the novel coronavirus. The relief package also provides small businesses with the Paycheck Protection Program, allowing them to keep employees on payroll for up to eight weeks. read more

The last volunteer brigade leaves Tijuana A border crisis and a global pandemic strand asylum-seekers

photo by Leslie Layton
At Chaparral, the Tijuana border crossing to San Diego, a sign shows the website URL that records the last number called. Asylum-seekers are assigned numbers and wait for months for a chance to make their case.

by Leslie Layton

It is 7 a.m. on a cold, grey day in early March at the border crossing that connects Tijuana, Mexico, with San Diego, Calif.

Some 25 migrants have gathered on the sidewalk below the port of entry. These are families on a waiting list, each with an assigned number in the 3,000 range. If any of their numbers are called today, they’ll get a turn to cross to the United States, and at some point — in what will probably be a very brief visit — a chance to make their case for asylum. read more

Asylum processing suspended as travel restrictions increase Migrant management strategies are a tool, not a solution

photo by Leslie Layton
Migrants in crowded shelters on the Mexican side of the border who are pursuing asylum in the United States may be stuck there indefinitely.

by Lucy Hood
The United States has implemented travel restrictions on an unprecedented scale in recent weeks that immigration experts say are riddled with loopholes and devised in a way that puts vulnerable populations at risk.

This is especially true at the U.S.-Mexican border, they said, where tens of thousands of migrants living in shelters in northern Mexico now have a very slim, if any, chance of pursuing their asylum cases in U.S. immigration courts. read more