Undocumented and Unemployed

Orders for non-essential workers to stay at home and the ripple effects of the coronavirus have been felt throughout the New York economy. Over one million New Yorkers have filed for unemployment insurance since the middle of March when the coronavirus impact was first felt.

Yet, one group is left behind by both the state’s existing unemployment insurance system and the federal government’s temporary enhancements to that system: undocumented immigrants. There are an estimated 530,000 undocumented immigrants in the New York State labor force. They face the same economic downturn as everyone else. And there is the same logic for making it possible for them to stay at home in this health crisis if they work in restaurants, hotels, or other businesses that are “on pause.” There is a clear need for a state program to take care of these workers until the federal government finds a way to address the overall need for immigration reform.

Read the brief: Undocumented and Unemployed