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State Legislators Plan to Provide Undocumented Immigrants With Unemployment Benefits

Broadway in Elmhurst (Photo: Queens Post)

April 1, 2021 By Ryan Songalia

Undocumented immigrants and formerly incarcerated inmates in New York state could soon receive unemployment benefits that they had been ineligible for under earlier federal aid packages.

State Sen. Jessica Ramos, who represents a portion of western Queens, has been an outspoken advocated for the proposal known as the Excluded Workers Fund. On Wednesday, she took to Twitter, urging that it be included in the state budget.

“Every [New Yorker] should have access to the meaningful relief they need to provide for their families, regardless of documentation,” wrote Ramos.

Ramos was not immediately available for comment when the Queens Post reached out to her office this morning.

State legislators and the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo are already discussing how the plan would be implemented, reported Politico on Tuesday.

Senate and Assembly Democrats have proposed $2.1 billion to be included for the Excluded Workers Fund, which would make some recipients eligible for more than $27,000 in relief.

Undocumented immigrants–and those who have been released from incarceration since October 2019 and therefore did not have the sufficient work history— would be eligible for unemployment benefits backdated to the time when the pandemic struck in March.

Benefits would include retroactive payments of $600 for each week they were unemployed from March 27 through July 2020, and $300 for each week from August 1, 2020 through September 6, 2021. Therefore, someone who has not worked the entirety of the pandemic would be eligible for an immediate payment of $20,700 and an additional $6,600.

“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,” New York Immigration Coalition’s Vanessa Agudelo told Politico.

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