Undocumented immigrants affected by the pandemic will be offered up to $15,600 by the New York Government. This could benefit nearly 300,000 people in the state.
State legislators have pushed through a measure that will do just that and offer one-time payments of up to $15,600 to the non-citizens that could add up to $2.1 billion as part of the state budget according to publication.
Undocumented workers will be able to receive the equivalent of $300 per week for the last year, up to $15,600. They must verify that they were New York residents, ineligible for federal unemployment benefits and lost income because of the pandemic.
The measure passed in the New York legislature this week, as part of a larger $212bn budget aimed to jump-start the state’s economy.
Immigrant workers are eligible to receive $15,600 if they can prove they are New York state residents who are ineligible for unemployment benefits due to their immigration status, and lost income due to the pandemic.
Other undocumented immigrants who are unable to meet the same level of verification will be eligible for $3,200 – the amount of federal assistance payments many Americans have already received, but which undocumented immigrants have been unable to claim.
The Fiscal Policy Institute, a New York-based policy group, estimated that 290,000 workers will benefit from the Excluded Worker Fund, including 213,000 in New York City. About 92,000 workers in New York state will be eligible for the full $15,600 payment.
A data from Pew Research Center, showing that about 725,000 undocumented immigrants live in New York State.
Immigrant-rights groups had pushed for relief payments, and a group of undocumented immigrants spent the last three weeks on hunger strike to push for support from the state.
“There have been 23 days without food. Twenty-three days when I was hungry and in pain. But it hasn’t just been 23 days. It’s actually been decades of pain, the pain of indifference and negligence,” Ana Ramirez, an undocumented worker and a member of the New York Communities for Change group, told AMNY on Wednesday.
“Today, our work today has been recognized. Our dignity has been recognized, and our dignity has been lifted by passing this fund.”
Last year, California introduced a similar relief program, but on a much smaller scale. The state contributed $75m to a cash assistance program which offered undocumented immigrants between $500 to $1000, on a first come, first served basis.
California’s relief program was expected to assist up to 150,000 undocumented immigrants. More than 2 million undocumented people live in the state.
A recent op-ed in the Washington Post suggested that it was Republicans who were moving further to the right and that center-right Republicans should seek to become “Biden Republicans.”
The Lincoln Project pushed that message in a tweet and announced that the “GOP can’t be saved.” It seems, however, that with measures like this, it is Democrats that are moving further to the left.
New York’s Attorney General Letitia James issued a statement regarding the legislation on verifying fraud potential regarding the payments, known as the Excluded Workers Fund.
Jessica Ramos released a statement about the measure, which was approved yesterday, where she said, “Very early this morning the, @NYSenate took the historic step to #FundExcludedWorkers!”
“I am very proud to have championed this effort on behalf of my neighbours and hundreds of thousands of excluded workers who will receive long overdue financial support they need,” Ramos added, echoing the words reported by the New York Times.