Immigrant advocates are pushing legislation that would tax the richest New Yorkers to create a safety net for the most vulnerable.
At a recent press conference in Midtown Kingston meant to pressure Albany to support the Excluded Workers Fund Act, city resident Isaura Rivera tearfully pleaded for lawmakers to bring relief to workers who have not received any federal or state COVID-19 assistance since the start of the pandemic.
What You Need To Know
- The legislation would approve a tax increase for the state’s richest residents
- It would generate more than $5 billion for a public insurance system for workers previously excluded from government relief
- Families would receive retroactive payments for the past year they did not receive assistance
Rivera has been working in food delivery to support her two daughters, both of whom are American citizens.
During the pandemic, Rivera has struggled to find work, stay in her home, and set up reliable transportation for her daughters’ school events and activities.
She said immigration status should not affect whether a hard worker receives a government lifeline.
“We are one conscience, all together, as humans,” she said, holding her one-year-old daughter Avalon, before taking a moment to collect herself. “We don’t have any kind of legal status yet, but we are working, some of us, on that. That doesn’t mean we should not be included as humans for needing [receiving] help.”
Rivera has joined the campaign of immigrant rights groups, Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson and the Ulster Immigrant Defense Network, to drum up support for the bill among state lawmakers from the Hudson Valley.
The legislation would approve a tax increase for the state’s richest residents, which would generate more than $5 billion for a public insurance system for workers previously excluded from government relief.
Payments would be sent to families retroactively to March 2020 when the economic shutdown began.
“They are part of our economy whether we support them or not,” Ulster County Legislator Abe Uchitelle said. “Now the stock market is thriving, and billionaires are increasing their wealth to new highs. Yet we still haven’t ensured that everyone in our community can put food on their tables. Ensuring they can do basic things like keep up to date on their rent and put food on their tables makes good economic sense for the entire community.”
The relief, up to $3,300 a month, would not just go to immigrants. The bill would also authorize payments to people recently released from jail and people who suffered financial loss because a loved one died during the pandemic.