As the new state budget was being wrapped up in Trenton on Thursday, progressive groups protested outside the State House over what they saw as a rushed process that lacked funding for key items despite New Jersey’s windfall of cash. Protesters from such groups as New Jersey Policy Perspective, New Jersey Working Families Alliance, Make the Road New Jersey, Wind of the Spirit and the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice were especially critical of the lack of funding for undocumented workers in the historically large budget.
Gov. Phil Murphy has allocated $40 million that will include $2,000 payments for workers excluded from federal COVID-19 relief payments, but advocates say that won’t make a dent in the amount needed for the more than 400,000 undocumented residents in the state.
Sara Cullinance, director of Make the Road New Jersey, said, “Nine hundred and eighty-nine million dollars is the full cost to ensure that no one is left behind from relief. That means extending direct cash payments to families and individuals that were left behind from the stimulus — and also creating an unemployment program that would provide income replacement to workers that lost their jobs but don’t qualify for unemployment because of their immigration status or any other reason.”