Governor Andrew Cuomo plans to give New York taxpayer money to undocumented immigrants. Many undocumented workers lost work during the pandemic, but due to their status as non-citizens, they did not qualify for the stimulus checks put forward by leading Democrats. Now, Cuomo and other New York politicians are proposing a plan to give undocumented workers who lost their job during the pandemic a one-time payment of $15,600 to help them get back on their feet.
Lawmakers have already approved a $2.1 billion fund that would come out of the New York state’s budget to help people who did not receive the federal stimulus checks throughout 2020 and 2021. The fund is a small part of the state’s new $212 billion budget agreement that was agreed to five days after its April 1 deadline. This fund would give the assistance payment to about 300,000 New Yorkers who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 but were not eligible for other stimulus money due to their immigration status.
The fund was a hotly debated topic in the budget that split Democrats apart. Progressive Democrats wanted to give undocumented immigrants support, while conservative Democrats wanted to reserve taxpayer money for citizens of the country.
However, protestors made their voices heard when advocating for the relief fund. They held protests outside of government buildings and even hosted hunger strikes to show lawmakers that they were serious about making this change to the state budget.
In a briefing on Wednesday, Cuomo said that New Yorkers need to show “compassion” for people who have had a hard time during the pandemic but did not qualify for federal relief. Workers will need to prove eligibility to receive the relief money and, according to Daily Mail, will be able to show the following to qualify: “driver’s licenses, state-issued IDs, birth certificates, school transcripts, utility bills, bank statements, a letter from an employer, pay stubs, wage statements or wage notices, and a previous W-2 or 1099 tax form.”
“Just because you are undocumented doesn’t mean we don’t care and we don’t have compassion, and we don’t want to help,” Governor Cuomo said.
However, Cuomo did voice his concerns that the undocumented worker relief fund could attract fraud. Before the plan goes into action, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and New York State Attorney General Letitia James will review the plan in its entirety to make sure it is strong.
“It is difficult to do it in a way that can be administered without fraud, and that’s obviously a major concern for us that we protect every tax dollar,” the New York governor said. “We ran an unemployment insurance program for citizens of the state; there was tremendous fraud even though we took significant measures. On this program, we’ll ask the comptroller to review it before it is administered. The comptroller’s job is to audit state funds. After a program is run, the comptroller will come back and do an audit and said, you did this wrong, this wrong, this wrong, this wrong.”
He added: “In this case, we’re asking the comptroller to look at the program first to make sure the way it is designed, there are fraud protections. And we’re asking the Attorney General to specifically review the program, the guidelines, the rules, to make sure there are anti-fraud protections.”
What do you think about this plan to give money to non-citizen workers?
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