Democrats in New York are working on creating a fund that would give some illegal aliens and ex-convicts more than $27,000 apiece in direct payments for financial hardships related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Politico reported Tuesday that Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office is in talks with state lawmakers to create something called the Excluded Workers Fund, which would offer direct payments to “undocumented immigrants and formerly incarcerated individuals” who missed out on work opportunities amid the pandemic.
“Right now discussions are around eligibility and access,” Democratic state Sen. Jessica Ramos told the outlet.
The state would set aside $2.1 billion for the Excluded Workers Fund, which would offer $600 in unemployment back pay for each week eligible individuals in New York were unemployed from March 27 until July 31, 2020.
An additional weekly payment of $300 would be paid to those unemployed from Aug. 1 of last year through this coming September, Politico reported.
Under the state Senate’s plan, illegal immigrants and people who have been released from prison since October 2019 would be eligible for the big payouts, as Democratic lawmakers believe these individuals were not able to establish a requisite work history that would make them eligible for unemployment benefits.
Some illegal immigrants and ex-convicts could see an immediate payment of $20,700, with an additional $6,600 coming later.
Vanessa Agudelo of the New York Immigration Coalition praised the proposition.
“This level of investment is absolutely historic for our communities,” Agudelo told Politico. “It’s the biggest investment any state has made to provide this level of relief to those workers who have been excluded from those unemployment benefits as well as what’s been passed in the stimulus package.”
“These are the folks who have been starving and have been on food lines on a daily basis, sometimes for hours, just to guarantee some food on the table for themselves and their families for the same night,” she added.
Agudelo went on to describe the wealth disparity in the state as “criminal.”
“It’s the bare minimum that we could be asking for for our people, and we believe with the amount of wealth in this state and how quickly it has accumulated even in the past year during the pandemic within the ultra-wealthy class, we believe it is criminal while we think about the disparity that exists in our communities and the starvation [and] dire financial hardship,” she said.
Politico said it had contacted numerous lawmakers for comment and not a single state Republican has publicly opposed the Excluded Workers Fund.
The state’s outnumbered GOP delegation might seek to simply use the state handouts to illegal immigrants and criminals against Democrats in future elections, according to what the outlet called “a source familiar with negotiations.”
“They want this to pass with the most crazy terms possible so they can campaign on it,” the person said. “They want to make this a political issue if it passes.”
Democratic lawmakers are hashing out the final details, such as eligibility requirements for payments, Politico reported.
Cuomo’s office favors requiring illegal immigrants and ex-convicts to prove financial hardship before they’re given massive sums of retroactive unemployment benefits, the report said. The embattled governor has not commented on the fund.
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