The creation of the fund became a contentious point in budget negotiations, even among Democrats in Albany.
The New York Times reported the state legislature created a COVID relief fund to give unemployed illegal immigrants a one-time payment of up to $15,600 each if they can prove that they lived in New York and were out of work due to the pandemic. The “excluded workers fund” contains $2.1 billion for the effort and was included as part of passing New York’s $212 billion budget in an agreement reached on Tuesday.
Cuomo announced the program during his budget briefing on Tuesday.
The creation of the fund became a contentious point in budget negotiations, even among Democrats in Albany. Tensions spilled over onto Twitter, according to the Daily News. Some legislators worried the bill went too far and concerned that constituents who also have been struggling but have seen no relief might be angry about the measure.
The Fund’s inclusion in the budget came after a coalition of supporters organized, protested, and staged a hunger strike.
For 20 days, workers across NY have been on hunger strike.
They’ve gone without food for weeks to demand that our state budget include $3.5 Billion for New Yorkers who’ve been excluded from other pandemic relief.
It’s been a full year. It’s time to finally #FundExcludedWorkers.
— Julia Salazar (@JuliaCarmel__) April 4, 2021
Most powerful thing I’ve ever seen at the NY Capitol.
— Daniel Altschuler 🦋 (@altochulo) April 5, 2021
People celebrated the announcement in the streets and on Twitter.
— #FundExcludedWorkers (@FEWCoalition) April 7, 2021
— Make the Road NY #FundExcludedWorkers 🦋 (@MaketheRoadNY) April 7, 2021
VICTORY! NY budget includes $2.1 billion to #FundExcludedWorkers!
This fund will support immigrants excluded from relief at a level that reflects a year without income.
— Make the Road NY #FundExcludedWorkers 🦋 (@MaketheRoadNY) April 6, 2021
But not everyone is celebrating.
Sorry, this is just wrong. Both my parents worked 16 hour shifts as nurses at the height of the pandemic, often to the point of near collapse. They’ve buried friends and colleagues who worked just as hard. That $2 billion should be going to them or stores that had to close.
— Ugonna Eze (@UgonnaEze7) April 8, 2021
Imagine $2.1B diverted to needy veterans in New York…it really is hero to zero for veterans 😔
— capering about most obstreperously (@LSt4rdust) April 8, 2021
Well, guess I’m voting Republican in the next state elections. First time in my life.
— flo (@tanstaaflo) April 8, 2021
There is no official tally of undocumented immigrants in New York, but the Migration Policy Institute put that number near 900,000 in 2018.DONATE
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