A fund meant to provide support for undocumented immigrations living in New York will no longer accept new applications and will have exhausted its more than $2 billion pot of money by the end of the month, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced.
But advocates for undocumented residents in the state called for additional support for people who had not qualified for federal pandemic aid, pointing to ongoing need.
State lawmakers created the fund earlier this year with more than $2 billion set aside for workers who had not been able to receive pandemic-related assistance from the federal government, drawing in the state's sizeable undocumented immigrant population and their families.
On Friday, Hochul announced the state had already approved $1.2 billion with nearly 120,000 applications, with the rest of the fund's money exhausted by the end of October. New applications will no longer be accepted.
Hochul had made distribution of the money under what's known as the Excluded Workers Fund a priority when she took office on Aug. 24.
"We must ensure that immigrant communities are supported in our recovery, and I made a commitment from my first day in office to get relief to New Yorkers in need as quickly as possible," Hochul said. "With leadership from the State legislature, and in close partnership with communities, this program has already delivered more than $1 billion to tens of thousands of New York families, and the more than $2 billion authorized by the legislature will have been awarded in the three months since the program launched."
Advocates for undocumented immigrants signaled last week they would continue to push for additional funding while also praising the Hochul administration for getting the money out the door.
At the same time, advocates pointed to the problems faced by undocumented residents in applying for aid.
"Geographic hurdles and outstanding policy issues have kept thousands of eligible workers from applying. In upstate New York in particular, organizations lacked the time to hire staff, complete sufficient outreach, and assist workers with applications. Workers around the state have struggled to obtain the necessary paperwork, especially with consulates facing months-long delays," said Bianca Guerrero, a coordinator with the Excluded Workers Fund Coalition. "We can't let workers get left out in the cold. Our coalition is committed to fighting for additional funding, and we look forward to working with the Governor and state legislature to ensure full, equitable access for excluded workers across the state."