New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday refused to commit to providing state emergency cash directly to illegal immigrants impacted by the coronavirus, citing Albany’s enormous fiscal problem.
Cuomo was asked Thursday about California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to give $500 apiece to 150,000 illegal immigrants in the Golden State barred from receiving assistance in the $2.2 trillion stimulus package approved by President Trump and Congress.
“We’re looking into it but we have real financial problems,” Cuomo said when pressed on the polarizing issue.
Cuomo initially sought to put the onus on Trump and Congress to address the issue of providing aid to illegal immigrants.
“The federal government should have a more inclusive policy,” Cuomo said.
But that’s a pipe dream. Trump and Congressional Republicans — and even some Democrats — oppose providing federal aid to people who come here illegally.
Cuomo said the state faces a potential $10 billion to $15 billion shortfall triggered by the economic collapses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and pointed out that he cancelled scheduled raises for state government workers.
“When you are broke, it would be irresponsible to do these things,” Cuomo said.
Advocates slammed Cuomo for not backing undocumented immigrants the way Gov. Newsom is in California.
“CA outdoes NY over and over again. Cuomo has provided ZERO relief to undocumented immigrants,” NY Communities for Change said in a tweet.
Javier H. Valdes, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York, said, “It is frankly outrageous that Governor Cuomo refuses to meet the urgent needs of immigrant New Yorkers. As our community members are disproportionately affected by this crisis and left out of the government’s relief, the Governor continues to insist on austerity economics, protecting the billionaires from taxes while leaving immigrants on the front lines at grave risk of hunger, illness, and death.
“We demand a full recovery for all, which must include direct cash assistance from New York State that prioritizes the needs of undocumented people,” Valdes added.
Providing government support for illegal immigrants is a divisive issue even in New York.
Cuomo and the state Legislature approved a law last year allowing undocumented residents to apply for a driver’s license. About half of New York voters oppose the policy, a Siena College poll in February found.
It is estimated that as many as 1.2 million undocumented residents lived in the greater New York metropolitan area, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.
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