New York State Budget Provides $2.1B In Aid For Undocumented Workers

Undocumented workers in New York State are now eligible for pandemic relief. A record $2.1 billion in aid was set aside in the state budget that was signed earlier this week; CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reports.

Video Transcript

- Undocumented workers in New York state are now eligible for pandemic relief. A record $2.1 billion in aid was set aside in the state budget that was signed earlier this week. CBS 2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas has more on how to help.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: When Analia Leone lost her housekeeping clients during the pandemic, she learned how to make face masks thanks to help from the Workers Justice Project. Juan Carlos Romero provided translation.

- [SPEAKING FOREIGN]

- She was able to survive during the pandemic through donations and financial help from friends.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: After all, the profit from selling masks could only go so far. Leone did not qualify for unemployment, stimulus payments, or other pandemic aid, because she's undocumented.

- [SPEAKING FOREIGN]

- She felt that she was excluded, but also sort of in a way made invisible.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: Now, she's among the estimated 300,000 people across New York eligible for the excluded workers fund. $2.1 billion in aid for undocumented workers passed this week in the state budget. Individual payments up to $15,600 will be given to those not eligible for previous benefits, who can show proof of living in New York and lost income due to the pandemic. The New York Immigration Coalition was among many groups lobbying for the controversial funding.

MURAD AWAWDEH: Without immigrant New Yorkers, there isn't very much of a local economy. So this is going to really reinvigorate local economies.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: Governor Cuomo signed the budget, which approved the fund, but he also raised concerns about potential fraud. Attorney General Letitia James says her office will provide some oversight. Despite health and safety concerns during the past year, Leone never stopped working.

- [SPEAKING FOREIGN]

- This is a social justice cause, and she's happy to see that it got approved.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: Hoping now for a shot at an economic recovery just like everyone else. In Sunset Park, Brooklyn, Aundrea Cline-Thomas, CBS 2 News.

- Now, opponents raise concerns about the price tag of the bill and the message it sends to other undocumented workers. Details regarding how to apply for the funds are still being established.