Signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) appropriated approximately $1.9 trillion to provide relief to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These allocations included aid for small businesses, direct stimulus funds to households, rental and income assistance, access to medical care and mental health services, and infrastructure aid. In addition, out of the roughly $1.9 trillion, $350 billion was reserved for states, localities, and tribal governments. State and local governments have broad discretion in how they can utilize state and local fiscal recovery funds (SLFRF) to alleviate the harmful effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the primary goals of ARPA is to encourage investment in communities hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, namely, underserved and underprivileged communities of color, such as immigrants and refugees. State and local governments have an unprecedented and unique opportunity to address the inequalities laid bare during the pandemic by investing in programs and services that address longstanding needs in these underserved communities.
This guide is intended to assist immigrant and refugee advocates and service providers in identifying potential funding opportunities through ARPA. Several states and localities have either not yet allocated any SLFRF resources at all or have only partially allocated such funds. Some states and localities are still collecting feedback from communities on how such funds should be dispensed. Therefore, there remain opportunities for advocates to mobilize and request ARPA funds to be directed towards refugee and immigrant support programing.