Washington, DC-Senate Republicans unveiled their effort for a final stimulus package today, including a proposed cut to weekly emergency unemployment benefits at 70% of a worker’s previous wages, replacing the $600 per week which states stopped paying out this week. The package would set the benefit at a sum of $200 per week on top of what recipients would normally receive from states through September, slashing what they got from April through July. In October, the 70% replacement would take effect up to a maximum of $500 per week.
The Republican package does not provide cash payments to mixed-status families and includes $1.6 billion for Border Patrol. The exclusion of America’s 47 million immigrants comes even though immigrants have continued to be on the front lines of the pandemic and have suffered tremendous damage economically and at great cost to their health and lives.
In response to the Senate Republicans’ stimulus bill, Steve Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, issued the following statement.
“The Senate Republicans’ first effort at a final stimulus package doesn’t pass the laugh test. Their proposed, completely insufficient bill makes clear that even a global pandemic won’t shake their devotion to Wall Street and the bank accounts of corporations, instead of the health and well-being of all Americans. If the GOP’s stimulus package passes, working families will see their lifelines cut, unemployed Americans will instantly face bankruptcy and evictions, and millions of immigrants on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak will be left out in the cold without a safety net of any kind.
The ball is now in the House and Senate minority caucus’ court. Senate Minority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi must match their inclusive rhetoric with action, and fight for a stimulus package that includes America’s immigrants in the relief and recovery as well.”
As of July 9, New York State’s unemployment rate was at 17.1%, while New York City’s was at nearly 20%, much higher than the national rate of 12.4 %. For undocumented New Yorkers, the economic pain is far more acute. In June, NYIC partnered with the Center for an Urban Future on a report revealing that half of New York City’s working-class immigrants have lost their jobs, highlighting the acute needs of this population. These struggling New Yorkers are ineligible for unemployment insurance despite contributing $1.4 billion to the state's unemployment system over the last decade.