Ineligible for Relief: #FundExcludedWorkers

Diana Polson and Maisum Murtaza |


We are living in a time where collective loss and heartache are everyday occurrences as people lose their homes, their jobs, and their lives to this deadly pandemic. While there are some additional public supports for those facing difficult times, the crisis has unearthed numerous ways in which our policies are inequitable and disregard certain groups of people. Undocumented immigrant workers are ineligible for unemployment benefits or relief payments despite their many contributions to our society, including yearly contributions to state and local taxes of over $139 million. Undocumented immigrants have paid over $270 million into state and federal unemployment trust funds in Pennsylvania since 2010, yet remain ineligible to use such benefits. In the Commonwealth, more than 183,000 immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, mixed-status families and international students, are ineligible for any COVID stimulus checks. Even if an undocumented immigrant has a dependent child who is a U.S. citizen, the whole family is excluded from receiving a stimulus check. Leaving out these workers from federal and state relief efforts denigrates their value to our society and communities and allows good, hard-working people to freefall into long term unemployment, poverty and homelessness. Including all immigrants in our relief policies is a matter of justice and humanity. Immigrants and their families have continued to contribute enormously to our communities, to our economy and if we give them the support they need now, will undoubtedly contribute to its recovery. #FundExcludedWorkers