$2.1 Billion for Undocumented Workers Signals New York’s Progressive Shift

It is hard to quantify the number of undocumented families living in New York, but the left-leaning Fiscal Policy Institute said Wednesday that the fund could benefit as many as 290,000 people statewide.

Undocumented workers could receive up to $15,600, the equivalent of $300 per week for the last year, if they can verify that they were state residents, ineligible for federal unemployment benefits and lost income as a result of the pandemic.

Others who can prove at least their residency and identity, and provide some work documentation, could be eligible for a lower sum up to $3,200.

The proposal found support in the Democratic-controlled State Senate and Assembly, especially among progressives who had argued for relief for more than a year. In the months leading up to the budget deadline, undocumented immigrants sought to draw attention to their cause.

Protesters gathered outside Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office and shut down bridges, carrying hard hats, pots and pans, and brooms and mops — the instruments of the jobs they had held — along with banners saying, “Our Labor Saved Lives.” And as the measure neared approval, about a dozen supporters who camped around a Manhattan church staged a three-week hunger strike that ended Wednesday.

Over the weekend, as an agreement around the fund materialized, it drew forceful denunciations from state Republicans, who described it as the latest “outlandish development” of one-party rule in Albany. The state also passed tax increases on the wealthy, meaning New York City millionaires would soon pay the highest personal income taxes in the nation.

“Democrats are raising taxes and using your federal stimulus dollars to enact a radical agenda rather than helping veterans, small main street businesses, teachers and senior citizens,” said Rob Ortt, the Republican minority leader in the State Senate.




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