Undocumented immigrants and excluded workers who do not currently qualify for unemployment aid should receive assistance through a special state fund, a progressive group found in a report to be released later Thursday.
The report from the Fiscal Policy Institute outlines the argument for the fund, which would affect about 5 percent of the state's workers and the 40,000 people who are being released from incarceration.
“This is no time to let New Yorkers be divided by a toxic political climate. Immigrants and people leaving incarceration, as well as all New Yorkers, are important to our social and economic fabric," said David Dyssegaard Kallick, deputy director of the Fiscal Policy Institute and Director of FPI’s Immigration Research Initiative. "Asking ultra-wealthy New Yorkers to do their part to help create a seamless safety net is just common sense."
New York's statewide unemployment rate reached 15.4 percent in June as the economy continued to suffer the shocks of the coronavirus pandemic.
Billions of dollars in unemployment aid has been paid out since March, and Congress is letting lapse a $600 in weekly supplemental aid for those workers who have lost their jobs due to the crisis.
The report found if 15 percent of undocumented immigrants receive unemployment benefits, 120,000 people would benefit from the program, costing $3.1 billion.
But the group also points to the impact this would have on the economy as a whole, as these workers are able to pay utility bills, buy groceries and make their rent payments. All told, the Fiscal Policy Institute estimates the move would have a multi-billion dollar impact on local economies.
The proposal would send unemployment relief of $750 a week to workers who currently do not qualify for benefits, paid for with taxes on billionaires who earn income from stocks, bonds and related holdings.