Fight for unemployment benefits for undocumented workers focus of rally in Albany
The fight to get unemployment benefits for undocumented workers who are ineligible for federal stimulus money took center stage Monday at a rally in Albany.
Bianca Guerrero, of the Fund Excluded Workers Coalition, says the workers do jobs that no one else is willing to do.
"They clean homes. They deliver food. They shovel peoples' cars out of the snow. Anything that New York state residents don't want to do falls to these excluded workers, and we should treat them as the essential workers that they are and provide the economic relief that they need to provide for their families."
Through a translator, William Lima, of Hempstead, tells News 12 that he had been working two jobs before the pandemic. Lima says he lost both jobs and has been out of work ever since.
At issue is not only whether lawmakers agree to include the funding in the state budget, but also how much.
Lawmakers are debating a $2.1 billion payout and whether to require documentation like pay stubs, bank records or individual tax ID numbers.
Sen. Phil Boyle doesn't think including the excluded workers fund in the budget is a good idea.
"I think including the excluded workers fund in the New York state budget would be disastrous for Long Island and for our state. This is $2 billion that could be going to our schools, to our environment, to our law enforcement. Perhaps what worries me most is that all of those people coming across the border now, the southern border, are going to hear about a $28,000 check and they're gonna be heading straight for New York. It would be very, very bad if this is included."
Boyle says the money could instead be going to schools, the environment, or law enforcement.
For Lima, he's not sure what he will do if he can't get unemployment.