New York, NY—With Albany lawmakers moving quickly to pass an emergency paid sick leave bill, immigrant advocates are raising the alarm that the legislation leaves out thousands of immigrant workers and poses hardships to New York’s small and micro-businesses, the majority of which are owned by workers. With the news that the bill will likely pass on Wednesday, Steve Choi, the Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, issued the following statement:
“It’s encouraging that Albany is trying to help working New Yorkers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are in danger of leaving behind New York’s immigrants, who are on the front lines of this crisis—delivering our meals, deep cleaning our homes and offices, or driving us home from doctor’s appointments. Many of our immigrant community members—in restaurants, hotels, and bars—are already out of a job or are seeing their pay cut drastically, but the current paid sick leave bill threatens to leave them out in the cold. The law also potentially hurts our immigrant-owned small businesses—many of whom lack the necessary insurance—by asking them to shoulder the burden of paying sick leave, when they are already struggling through the devastating economic impact of our current crisis.
Instead, we need to include immigrants and keep New York united, by making emergency cash grants available to every worker, regardless of their immigration status, and providing support such as grants and no-cost loans to small businesses already reeling from the crisis.
Immigrants are on the coronavirus front lines—we can’t leave them behind. We call on Albany to lead by example by being united—working together to enact common-sense solutions to ensure all New York families can survive and thrive.”