New York’s COVID Relief Fund For Illegal Aliens Almost Depleted
FAIR Take | October 2021
The COVID relief funds for illegal aliens in New York are almost depleted and unsurprisingly open-border advocates are clamoring for additional taxpayer monies.
In June, New York's state legislature passed the “Excluded Workers Fund,” which provided illegal alien applicants with cash payments of nearly $16,000. This fund is the largest and most generous of its kind in the United States. The fund’s proponents in the legislature characterized it as both retroactive unemployment assistance and as a “stimulus” needed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Providing unemployment assistance to illegal aliens conflicts with the intent of our immigration laws since they are prohibited from working in the United States.
Despite all Republicans and many Democrats opposing providing funds to illegal aliens, proponents of the Excluded Workers Fund quickly rammed it through as part of the state’s budget process.
Now, “just a few months after the state began accepting applications, the fund is about to run out of money, following the blitz in claims and a speedy distribution of aid. State authorities announced they would stop accepting new applications as of Oct. 8, adding that even those who had applied in the two weeks before that deadline might not be approved.”
The Republican minority in both chambers of the legislature continue to voice opposition to giving money to illegal aliens. Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt (R-Tonowanda) says “[i]t’s not surprising that there’s no amount of money that will ever be enough for these advocates … They want to make this a permanent thing.” However, the Democrats who originally opposed the fund have been less outspoken.
The calls for more money began after former Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) resigned in August. Cuomo had approved the fund despite voicing skepticism. It remains to be seen if newly sworn-in Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) will support further taxpayer handouts for illegal aliens in New York. The fund’s backers are pushing her to support additional funds, however; her decision may be tempered by whether she plans to run for governor next year.
The New York legislature is currently adjourned and not scheduled to meet until January 5, 2022. No bills have yet been introduced to supplement the Excluded Workers Fund, but state legislators think the governor could shift other funds into the Excluded Workers Fund without the need for further legislation.