The state of New York is planning to provide illegal immigrants with financial relief using $2.1 billion of taxpayer money.
Fox Business reports that New York legislators negotiated an agreement this week to create a $2.1 billion coronavirus relief fund for illegal immigrants and unemployed workers previously ineligible for federal aid during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund was announced as part of a staggering $212 billion state budget agreement, and will provide one-time payments to a maximum of $15,600 to illegal immigrants who lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.
The outlet reports that prospective recipients of the fund must prove to the state that they are New York residents who were ineligible for unemployment benefits and stimulus checks due to their immigration status. They must also demonstrate that they lost income during the pandemic.
It is unclear how the state intends to validate the claims of undocumented migrants, who are by definition, undocumented. To expedite the process, illegal immigrants who are unable to show verification will still be eligible to receive $3,200, the same amount many Americans received from the federal government as stimulus checks.
"This nation’s economy has long been built on the backs of our undocumented workforce, and their essential labor that has helped keep our nation running throughout this pandemic," New York State Sen. Jessica Ramos, a sponsor of the fund, stated.
As Fox Business details, the fund, known as the Excluded Workers Fund, was a contentious topic during budget negotiations that caused them to extend past the April 1 deadline. As Democrats clashed over how prospective recipients could prove their unemployment status, some Democrats even called for ex-convicts to receive benefits, and debated whether the stimulus funds should be taxable.
Republicans, who hold a minority of seats in the New York State Legislature blasted Democrats for obvious reasons: Democrats plan to use taxpayer dollars to provide billions in aid to illegal immigrants while countless New York residents struggle to pay rent and to get by. Republicans cited it as proof of the failure of New York's one-party rule.
The Fiscal Policy Institute, a progressive organization, estimates that the fund could benefit around 290,000 undocumented individuals throughout the state, including 213,000 in New York City alone. Around 92,000 workers are eligible for the full $15,600 payment.