New York Legislature Gives Illegal Aliens Huge Benefits, Sets Stage For More
FAIR Take | June 2021
New York’s 2021 legislative session has provided illegal aliens with a host of benefits, privileges and protections, while citizens and legal immigrants suffer under some of the highest taxes and regulatory burdens in the country and crime skyrockets. When lawmakers adjourned their session on June 11, they provided a preview of more to come.
The single biggest giveaway was the $2 billion “Excluded Workers Fund,” which will provide illegal aliens with cash payments of nearly $16,000. This was proposed by the legislature as retroactive unemployment assistance or as “stimulus” needed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. This funding was provided despite illegal aliens being prohibited by federal law from working in the United States. Moreover, all of the federal stimulus bills have made illegal aliens ineligible for federal taxpayer funds. Proponents quickly rammed the bill through as part of the state’s budget process despite all Republicans and many Democrats expressing concern or opposition to the proposal.
In addition to the $2 billion stimulus package, the legislature also passed $2.4 billion in “rental assistance.” The “rental assistance” bill authorized payments of up to twelve months of back rent and utility bills. Eligibility was based on earning 80 percent or less of median income, regardless of immigration status. Individuals who pay more than 30 percent of their monthly income toward housing could qualify for an additional three months of benefits.
Since the Biden-backed “COVID relief” bill bailed out states and local governments to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, every federal taxpayer in the country will be indirectly paying for these handouts to illegal aliens.
The legislature didn’t stop at monetary payments alone for illegal aliens. Senate Bill (SB) 4394A and its companion Assembly Bill (AB) 5144 prohibit “retaliatory actions” by employers against their employees based on citizenship or immigration status. This legislation would allow illegal aliens to sue for being fired even though federal law makes knowingly employing them a crime, putting employers in an impossible position where they’re unable to comply with both federal and state law.
AB 3412, and its companion SB 343A, would amend the state’s criminal coercion statute to include threatening to report someone to federal immigration authorities or otherwise get them deported, potentially making ordinary citizens who report illegal aliens or immigration-related crimes into criminals under state law.
These bills passed along party-line votes and Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) is expected to sign them.
Toward the end of the legislative session, there was a push to make New York a sanctuary state. The “New York For All Act,” AB 2328 and SB 3076A, would have banned practically all information-sharing, cooperation and assistance by state and local law enforcement with federal immigration authorities.
The New York State Sheriffs Association condemned the bill. The Executive Director David Kehoe said, “[i]t’s wrong for legislators to try to continue to tie local police hands with respect to working with their federal partners, when both sides are only trying to keep the public safe.” Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) also spoke out against the bill saying restricting law enforcement while crime is spiking is the wrong move.
Ultimately the sanctuary bill didn’t pass. However, the Assembly did hold several committee hearings on the bill.
The legislature ultimately adjourned, subject to recall by the chair. This means the Assembly Speaker and the Senate President Pro Tem could call their respective chambers back into session without needing the governor to call a special session. The sanctuary bills could be considered if lawmakers are called back or they will “carry over” to the 2022 legislative session.