Schumer’s Failure to Fight for Immigrant Families In 4 Relief Packages Sparks Unprecedented Backlash in Home State

New York, NY—This week, the New York Immigration Coalition, the nation’s largest coalition of immigrant rights organizations, launched an unprecedented ad campaign targeting Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for failing to live up to his pro-immigrant rhetoric amid a historic crisis. The ad comes the same week that House Democrats introduced the HEROES Act, a $3 trillion stimulus package, including economic and healthcare assistance for every family regardless of immigration status, a policy strongly supported by a majority of American voters. As Congress debates the HEROES Act, the NYIC and its allies will continue to exert pressure on Senator Schumer to fight any Senate Republican effort to derail the bill for the good of all New Yorkers, hardest hit by the pandemic, and the nation.

The campaign calls for:

  • Cash assistance for all people who contribute to the economy and pay taxes, regardless of immigration status.
  • Expanded Medicaid coverage for COVID19 treatment to all, regardless of status.
  • Extensions of expiring legal protections for immigrants to ensure our essential workers can continue to protect all of us.

According to new data released this week from the Fiscal Policy Institute, undocumented workers in New York have paid $1.4 billion into the unemployment system over the last decade. Now, with the state reeling from the economic fall out of the COVID-19 outbreak, 1.2 million New Yorkers—citizens, legal permanent residents, and undocumented immigrants—were intentionally excluded from any federal relief. Their exclusion continues even though immigrants make up more than half of New York City’s frontline workersStatewide, 33% of frontline workers are immigrants and they make up one-third of health workers, the highest percentage of immigrants in that sector of any state. The campaign is a reminder of the importance of New York’s full recovery to the economic health of the nation.

After the launch of the campaign, Steve Choi, the Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, issued the following statement:

“Four relief packages have passed, and trillions of dollars are being spent, and Senator Schumer has talked a big game but failed to deliver assistance to all working families. The result is that 1.2 million immigrant New Yorkers—citizens, legal residents, and undocumented immigrants, many of whom are on the frontlines of the pandemic—have been excluded from getting a single cent in cash relief during these uncertain times, putting the health and security of all New Yorkers at risk.

New York’s immigrant workers are essential in every sense of the word—risking their lives to pick, cook, and deliver our food, deep clean our hospitals and warehouses, and more. With Trump continuing to scapegoat immigrants, we urge Senate Minority Leader Schumer and the Senate to finish what the House Democrats started. We can only survive this historic crisis by coming together as a nation, guaranteeing support for everyone who calls America home—and that includes immigrants.”


At the national level, the Migration Policy Institute estimates that 15.4 million people are currently ineligible for any federal relief. Even though the vast majority of this population pays local and state taxes, they face reduced hours, furloughs, and unemployment without assistance. Indeed, many pay into their state’s unemployment insurance funds despite being ineligible to receive the benefit.