At a pre-Election Day rally at Papaianni Park, Governor Phil Murphy and members of the Middlesex Democratic Party heard directly from immigrant rights groups. Laborers and advocates voiced their demand that the New Jersey Excluded Workers Fund provide relief to all undocumented essential workers. Advocates demand an allocation of $989 Million dollars in recovery aid during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Activists insisted that Murphy aid their cause in providing real relief to the nearly 500,000 undocumented essential workers in New Jersey. Currently, the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund would only provide relief to 10% of those who need help, according to Cosecha New Jersey. They argued that $40 million in relief funds is simply not enough, and would equate to a $96 payment per person, as opposed to the thousands of dollars each New Jersey citizen received throughout the pandemic.
In the words of Trissy, a 33-year old immigrant woman and a mother of two young children, “I have never received a dime of federal relief. I lost my job early last year, followed by my husband losing his. To make matters worse, my family and I caught the virus and have been searching for help to pay for medical expenses, rent, and food. I am still struggling to survive while the state opens back up and fear I may lose my home. Governor Murphy, you can’t be progressive when you’re leaving behind 90% of the undocumented essential workers in New Jersey.”
According to the governor’s statement back in May, the Excluded Workers Fund provides funds for “New Jerseyans who have previously been ineligible for federal assistance, including ITIN holders and others previously excluded from COVID relief assistance such as federal stimulus checks or unemployment insurance. The Excluded New Jerseyans Fund will provide a one-time cash assistance benefit of up to $2,000 to households with incomes up to $55,000 that can demonstrate they have suffered economic hardship due to COVID-19.”
Advocates said they will continue to remind voters and elected officials that it is not a progressive value to leave behind 90% of essential workers from the pandemic recovery aid coming from Washington D.C. through the $6 billion dollars in the American Rescue Plan.
“We want people who can vote to go out and vote. But we also want to remind them that we are their neighbors too and our children deserve relief,” said Trissy. Their campaign for recovery aid is the #YNosotrosQue campaign, which translates to “What about us?” The Facebook Live video of the event can be viewed here, www.facebook.com/cosechanewjersey/videos/506172837483112.