US Senate: Pass a Federal Stimulus Bill for Undocumented Workers
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The US has recently passed a bold economic relief package in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. The ambitious $2.2 trillion plan is set to provide temporary coverage for millions of Americans.
The current act under effect delivers immediate aid to families and extends the number of employment benefits in a given workforce. While the relief bill isn't perfect (The Human Rights Watch estimates that it won't provide enough support to completely resurrect worker's debt and supplement income), it is certainly a step in the right direction. At CER NYC, we are addressing the important fundamental fault in the current bill that excludes undocumented citizens.
During and after this pandemic, our undocumented immigrants will be severely inflicted and will suffer immensely from crippling unemployment. Due to the stay-at-home mandates issued across the U.S, most undocumented workers with work visas are currently jobless. However, while citizens of the United States are eligible to file for unemployment, undocumented workers are not offered that luxury. Consequently, they won't receive the important unemployment benefits allocated to American citizens. Even though undocumented immigrants pay billions of dollars in taxes annually, they are not included in the social safety networks funded by their tax money.
This relief package only protects workers with a social security number, excluding the eight million unofficial workers working on the front lines, despite the fact that in 2015, people with individual tax identification numbers (ITIN's) paid a whopping 13.7 billion in U.S net tax dollars (American Immigration Council). It is important to note that 80% of farmworkers in the U.S are Latinx, and of this 80%, 90% are working on H-2a visas. Our current presidential administration refuses to realize that undocumented workers play a critical role in the threadwork of our nation and economy. Our president and his administration are proudly and viciously anti-immigration and anti-equality. Because of this, and other ugly, anti-migrant values our nation so callously adopts, unauthorized workers are entirely left out of the current relief plan. Our farmworkers, who are largely undocumented, are important people that are working on our front lines. Without these people, there would be no agricultural industry. These are people that are serving the economy and the nation at large. It is pure hypocrisy that undocumented workers are expected to pay taxes but are left out of the stimulus bill providing financial relief for a virus that's arguably hitting them the hardest.
We need to create a new relief package for undocumented workers that provides year-long financial coverage. These grants must be accessible to all undocumented workers for it to make an impact.
California has been the one and only state to roll out efforts to assist undocumented workers:
On April 15th, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a $125 million stimulus bill to support California's 150,000 undocumented workers. Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for the federal $2.2 trillion plan, but they will receive limited funds in what is part of a $125 million dollar plan to ease the economic burden of the Coronavirus stay-at-home mandate. In his speech, Governor Newsom cited that undocumented workers were the lifeblood of the Californian economy, making up 10% of the entire workforce. $50 million in funds will be distributed through a network of nonprofit organizations and philanthropies, as well as $75 million from the state government. Private charities and non-profit philanthropies contributing $50 million for the bill include the Emerson Collective, The Blue Shield of California Foundation, the California Endowment, the James Irving Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The stimulus bill provided for undocumented workers differs largely from the federal plan, supplementing no cap on the basis of income. The plan will deliver $500 to individual workers and $1,000 for families.
This new stimulus effort is certainly a milestone, but California is the only state that has provided any financial support for undocumented immigrants. The federal stimulus bill offers a stipend of $1,200 for citizens, with ongoing financial support. The estimated impact that the federal plan will have is to increase unemployment benefits by $600 per week. The new plan commissioned for undocumented workers offers none of these benefits and is limited to $1,000 for families and $500 for individuals. Undocumented workers serve a vital role in our national economy, especially in California. The bill offered by Gavin Newsom is not sufficient enough to provide long term support for undocumented immigrants, who will be hit the hardest by the stay-at-home mandate issued in California and across the U.S. Many undocumented immigrants on H2A and other work visas were already struggling enormously to put food on the table and this is exacerbated by the lack of work.
This petition has a dual purpose; to convince the senate to create a federal, year-long stimulus bill for undocumented workers; and to provide financial relief for small businesses, who will be hit extremely hard by the Coronavirus pandemic.
As is quite obvious, small businesses are crumbling by the lack of businesses and profits. Many stores, restaurants, cafe's and other small businesses will not reopen pending the Coronavirus pandemic. These small business owners need, now more than ever, for their senators to weigh in on their behalf. The government just offered an ambitious loan of $484 billion to small businesses. This petition is demanding that all small businesses have access to this plan. These loans should not be allocated to corporations, but small businesses.
We also need to restart the economy, but not in a way that puts workers in danger. We are in an extremely difficult position because, as of April 24th, 26 million Americans have filed for unemployment. That’s why we need to secure a new workers stimulus bill that applies to all domestic frontline workers, including grocery store workers, firefighters, EMT workers, construction workers, and other essential jobs. This stimulus bill must be isolated from the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill for economic recovery.
Here is what needs to happen in order to make these economic structural changes:
1. Mitch McConnell must work with democratic senators in a bipartisan effort to implement a stimulus bill for essential workers that isn't framed as a political stunt.
2. For closed businesses, the Treasury Department must give year-long grants to companies with less than 1,000 employees. These businesses must have the ability to borrow without interest rates up to the 2019 revenue. These grants must be enough to supplement small business workers.
3. Individual states must give block grants to create jobs that control the public health crisis; specifically related to testing centers and public transportation disinfecting.
4. The U.S must hire a manufacturing director to regulate the production of masks and the influx of new workers that will be hired under the state's block grants. The director must ensure that there are more than enough medical and testing supplies for hospitals and labs throughout the country.
Please sign this petition and share it with as many people as you can if you want to see to it that these goals are accomplished. Monetary donations are also appreciated and strongly encouraged. Be safe.
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