NJ begins paying stimulus to unauthorized immigrants
New Jersey is rolling out a new pandemic stimulus plan for immigrants living in the country illegally.
Applications are now being taken for the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund.
Gov. Phil Murphy set aside $40 million in the state budget to provide stimulus payments for those in New Jersey with an illegal immigration status, if they can prove they were excluded from other government stimulus programs, including unemployment benefits.
According to the group Make the Road New Jersey, 10.7 million immigrants were not eligible for federal stimulus and could not file unemployment claims because of their status and/or the lack of a Social Security number.
To be eligible, applicants must demonstrate:
- Exclusion from both federal stimulus checks and COVID related unemployment assistance
- Household COVID Impact
- Household income that is at or below $55,000
- Residency, Identity, Age
Immigrant rights advocates welcomed the state aid, but still say it is too little and, for some, too late. They had been demanding as much as $1 billion in aid.
The issue of providing aid to immigrants without legal status was a contentious issue during budget negotiations last Spring. Members of the Latino Legislative Caucus tried to include over $900 million in aid for unauthorized immigrants in the budget, but the effort did not have the support of Murphy or legislative leaders.
Murphy included $40 million for workers in the country illegally when he signed the new state budget in June, and continues to say he supports more funding.
The conservative activist group, Project Veritas, has released new secretly recorded videos of Murphy campaign aides saying more aid for these immigrants is coming.
Senior campaign adviser for Hispanic outreach, Wendy Martinez, is shown saying that $40 million in pandemic aid is being allocated to immigrants not legally in the country but that “to designate that at this point would be political suicide.”
Matthew Urquijo, digital organizing manager for the Democrats’ coordinated campaign, said he thinks “there's definitely” going to be more aid for unauthorized immigrants after winning more Democratic seats in the Legislature.