On Tuesday, the New York State Legislature passed historic legislation creating a Fund for Excluded Workers totaling 2.1 Billion Dollars. The Fund will provide economic assistance to immigrants left out of earlier Federal stimulus measures. According to New York Immigration Coalition Co-Executive Director Murad Awadi:
Frontline workers and everyday New Yorkers went on hunger strikes, marched in the streets, and made thousands of calls to their representatives to demand that the budget provide economic relief and meaningful investments in the well-being of immigrant New Yorkers. We mobilized our members and our allies in every region of the state and worked with our legislative allies to ensure that critical budget items were included
For over a year, immigrant New York families have been shut out of nearly all federal relief and safety net programs. Now, thousands of immigrant New Yorkers will finally have access to financial assistance through the first-of-its-kind program, which establishes a $2.1 billion dollar fund to support excluded workers and their families through these challenging times.
On Long Island, the struggle for the Fund for Excluded Workers was spearheaded by Long island Jobs With Justice, along with SEPA Mujer, NDLON, and Rural Migrant Ministries, among other groups. Rallies by the Long Island groups continued up until the final days of budget negotiations.
Vanessa Agudello, who headed up the New York Immigration Coalition’s statewide campaign for the Fund For Excluded Workers, said that implementation will require the cooperation of many organizations working at the local level. “We need to make sure that the state does not create onerous burdens for immigrants to apply for the fund. We also need to educate the community about the Fund and provide training for organizations that want to help people apply.”