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Essential but Excluded: The Fight for Immigrant Inclusion Gains Momentum

We are celebrating a huge victory in New York this week! After a year-long fight that culminated in a 23-day hunger strike led by the members of CPD's affiliates Make the Road New York (MRNY), New York Communities for Change (NYCC), and with support from members of CUFFH the New York State legislature agreed to create a $2.1 billion fund for workers previously excluded from pandemic-related benefits. This is the first fund of its kind in the history of the United States.

With this fund, New York State will provide between $3,000 and $15,000 survival checks to 200,000 excluded workers, including undocumented immigrants. MRNY, NYCC and partners staged beautiful actions, lifted up and centered the stories of real people, and didn't back down in the face of steep opposition. We hope this kind of fund becomes a model for other states and we support Make the Road New Jersey (MRNJ) and the brave workers in New Jersey who have launched a hunger strike for relief. 

Our network is also pushing the federal government on immigrant inclusion. Last month, our effort for immigrant justice went big – billboard sized! The Center for Popular Democracy joined Make the Road New York, CASA, LUCHA and the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) to launch billboards that call on key senators to create a pathway to citizenship for essential workers. The billboards, along with local ads in Sunday newspapers and a push for CPD supporters to call the White House, were part of a larger targeted campaign to pressure Congress and the Biden administration to ensure that the country’s recovery is fair and equitable and recognize the innumerable contributions immigrants have made throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to keep the country running. It’s long past due to address the needs of immigrant communities and pass legislation that honors their contributions during this time of crisis. You can take action by contacting your elected official now and demand they support citizenship for essential workers in the next reconciliation package.