On the turnpike near Edison, a newly placed billboard urges the state legislature to pass relief measures to aid working immigrants left out of federal assistance as they struggle during the COVID-19 pandemic. The billboards were placed between exits 9 and 10 of Middlesex County by Grassroots Immigrant Rights Organization and Make the Road New Jersey.
The New Jersey Billboard
The billboard features an immigrant family that was left out and calls for the passage of S2480/A4171. It states, “500,000 Vulnerable New Jerseyans Left Behind.”
Make the Road New Jersey estimated that around 640,615 people, including 262,257 U.S. citizens, live with at least one undocumented family member. “Despite their contributions, including $1.2 billion to the states’ unemployment coffers over the past 10 years and annual state and local tax payments of nearly $600 million, New Jersey’s undocumented immigrants are ineligible for unemployment insurance, TANF, SNAP, and most other safety-net programs,” said Ruth Delgado, Communications Associate at Make the Road New Jersey.
“The billboard is an attempt to educate the public about the vast need as we head into the holidays,” said Delgado. The $2 trillion CARES Act gave most taxpayers unemployment benefits and up to $1200 in cash payments, which conspicuously left the undocumented immigrants out. Not only were the undocumented immigrants were left out, but also their U.S. citizen spouses and children.
COVID-19 Relief for Immigrants
The bill currently has 19 co-sponsors in the Senate and 25 in the Assembly, with bipartisan support. It has also garnered endorsements from various community leaders. Approximately 77 community faith and labor organizations, including Cardinal Joseph Tobin of the Newark Archdiocese, have supported the bill. Although it is widely supported, the state legislature has not held a single hearing on the legislation.
If the bill passes, the legislation will appropriate $35 million to provide for qualifying immigrants. The pending legislation A4171/S2480 would provide a one-time payment to all undocumented, taxpaying immigrants in New Jersey. The payments are estimated to be:
- $1,000 for an eligible taxpayer whose most recent gross income tax return included at least one dependent child
- $700 for an eligible taxpayer whose most recent gross income tax return was filed with a status of married filing jointly and did not include a dependent child
- $500 for other eligible taxpayers
Pro-immigrant organizations hope that this billboard will get the required attention, and lawmakers can ensure that undocumented, taxpaying families can get timely help. To learn more about this blog post or if you have any other immigration concerns, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or (484) 544-0022. For other topics related to COVID-19, visit our Coronavirus Thought Leadership Connection.
The information contained in this post may not reflect the most current developments, as the subject matter is extremely fluid and constantly changing. Please continue to monitor this site for ongoing developments. Readers are also cautioned against taking any action based on information contained herein without first seeking advice from professional legal counsel.