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NYC workers rally in Brooklyn for Excluded Workers Fund to be expanded

Dozens of undocumented immigrants who fought to be included in pandemic relief funding just a year ago rallied once again in Downtown Brooklyn Tuesday.

News 12 Staff

Mar 8, 2022, 5:30 PM

Updated 835 days ago

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Dozens of undocumented immigrants who fought to be included in pandemic relief funding just a year ago rallied once again in Downtown Brooklyn Tuesday.
Those who rallied called for the Excluded Workers Fund to be expanded so that more workers can have access to it.
Workers marched from Brooklyn to City Hall Park, demanding that Gov. Kathy Hochul and state lawmakers include funding for undocumented immigrants in the state budget.
"During the pandemic, a lot of our people, particularly immigrants or people working for cash, they were locked out of assistance, unemployment, stimulus checks, and too many people were left behind from communities that are already left behind. We're out here today fighting for a way to remedy these harms," said Tafadar Sourov, of Laborers Local 79.
Workers won their fight last year to be included into the 2021 state budget after they said undocumented immigrants were shut out from COVID-19 relief funding.
They asked the state for $3 billion in funding for excluded workers who still need support. They also urged state lawmakers to create a permanent unemployment fund.
“Our community saw the impact of the Excluded Workers Fund on one of the most marginalized and highly impacted members of our society: immigrant workers, who helped us survive this pandemic, but unfortunately, without relief, are struggling to recover," said Diana Moreno, of New Immigrant Community Empowerment.
Organizers said the previous funding transformed the lives of more than 130,000 people who had access to it, but they said that funding quickly ran out.
Denis Ibarra, of Churches United for Fair Housing, said those funds would make a world of difference for his family.
"It would help us a lot. We would be able to have easier access to a doctor. We would be able to save up and create this generational wealth for our future generations," Ibarra said.
"The governor actually identified $2 billion that doesn't even yet have a use and said to the legislators, 'What should we be doing with it?' I can't imagine anything more important than this," said Comptroller Brad Lander.
The funding would need to be included in the budget before it goes into effect on April 1.


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