NJ rejects massive stimulus for unauthorized immigrants
Help for undocumented residents was largely left out of the state budget approved by lawmakers on Thursday.
Even in what New Jersey Republicans called an "orgy of pork," Democrats who were throwing money at dozens of election year priorities ultimately rejected calls for a massive funding package to provide pandemic relief for the state's undocumented residents. For months, immigrant rights groups had been demanding nearly $1 billion in relief.
The $46.4 billion dollar spending plan approved along a party-line vote includes billions in additional funding for the state pension system, expanded eligibility for Family Care and senior drug programs, college funding and more items to help garner votes among key voting groups in November.
Only $40 million dollars was approved in CARES Act funding to create an "excluded workers fund."
None of the money set aside for workers excluded from federal stimulus payments has been distributed yet. The Murphy administration says they are still working details. Immigrant rights groups say the $40 million set aside will help less than 10% of those left out of existing stimulus programs.
They had been lobbying for direct stimulus payments of up to $2,500 per household as well as equivalent unemployment benefits.
A small group of activists and community members did show up at the Statehouse on Thursday as lawmakers were voting on the budget, a far cry from the crowds that had rallied as the budget was being crafted.
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