Advocates and undocumented immigrants are on their 22nd day of a hunger strike calling for COVID-19 relief aid. They are taking the drastic stance to call attention to immigrant essential workers who’ve been left out of federal and state relief funding, as well as unemployment benefits and stimulus dollars. Advocates are urging Gov. Phil Murphy and the Legislature to set aside money for the state’s roughly half-million undocumented immigrants and their families.
At a rally outside the governor’s regular coronavirus briefing Wednesday, they requested a fund to provide $600 weekly payments to the workers. They say that undocumented immigrants contributed more than $1 billion to the unemployment system over the last decade. The movement recently gained support from national labor and Latino leaders like Julian Castro, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta. In response, Gov. Murphy said the state is looking at all available state and federal options to provide that support.