Undocumented workers who have lost their jobs or income due to the coronavirus pandemic will be eligible for payments of up to $ 15,600 in New York City, thanks to a bill passed by state lawmakers this week .
Money from $ 2.1 billion excluded labor fund will go to workers who were not eligible for Unemployment Insurance due to their immigration status and who were also excluded from the three stimulus payments. It’s the the largest fund of its kind in the country.
Legislation passed after weeks of hunger strikes by undocumented migrants organizers in New York. It has been negotiated with Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), who has yet to sign it.
Almost 300,000 workers could benefit from it, according to the Fiscal Policy Institute.
Illegal immigrants immigrants are among the hardest hit by the pandemic and its economic fallout. They are overrepresented in fields that have seen mass layoffs due to COVID-19 restrictions, including the restaurant and hospitality industries. Undocumented workers are also significant portions of these deemed essential on the front lines of the pandemic – including grocery store workers, cleaners – who risk their lives to work while millions more in the United States can stay at home.
As the death toll from the virus exceeds 559,000 in the United States, Latinxes and blacks were about three times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than whites, and are twice as likely to die.
In February, California adopted smaller-scale aid for undocumented migrants workers in the form of one-time payments of $ 600 to those who pay taxes.
To qualify for the new aid in New York, undocumented workers must qualify for “level 1” by showing official employment forms or their individual tax identification numbers – which many undocumented workers use to pay federal taxes because they do not have a Social Security number. “Level 2” funds, which only provide $ 3,200 in relief, would go to those without proof of employment, The Intercept reported. Some immigrant advocates fear that requiring too many documents for eligibility will prevent some who are owed funds from receiving them.
Illegal immigrants immigrants contribute about $ 1.1 billion in state and local taxes in New York, according to a 2017 Fiscal Policy Institute report.
“To the hunger strikers: I am grateful for your leadership… today is a day of victory, a historic day”, Marcela Mitaynes, from New York Member of the Assembly, written in Spanish on Twitter. The legislator joined the hunger strike for 12 days. “Celebrate today because tomorrow we will continue to fight.”
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