Migrant workers on hunger strike make demands on Cuomo
Immigrant workers on hunger strike in New York took their grievances to Governor Andrew Cuomo demanding a new budget.
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This Monday, immigrant workers who have been on hunger strike in New York for 20 days arrived at the Capitol and continued their route to Governor Andrew Cuomo's house to demand that the new budget include a $3.5 billion fund to benefit those excluded from the federal economic stimulus.
"Get your heart pumping for us who are fighting the pandemic, please governor, do it. That fund has to be approved for all the excluded who have made a sacrifice for this state, for this great nation, that because of it we are here. We deserve that fund for all the strikers and the community in general," said Eliana, a striker and survivor of COVID-19, who has worked for 38 years as a street vendor.
The group of strikers sat in front of several tables with colorful tablecloths and empty plates, the message is clear: there is no food on their tables because they are unemployed since the pandemic began or have lost much of their income, and have never received any economic assistance for their status.
The striking immigrants began a campaign in hopes that the state legislature will approve in the budget a $3.5 billion fund that would go to undocumented immigrants and other New Yorkers who were imprisoned when Congress passed its economic stimulus.
Ombudsman Jumaane Williams and state Assemblywoman Amanda Seventh were with the immigrants, who also received their communion in the form of wine or juice.
"It pains me that they have to go on a hunger strike to be seen as human," Williams said in his message to the group, who are staying overnight at an Episcopal church in Manhattan. For his part, he pointed out to them that there are some Democrats, who dominate both bodies, who are pushing against this fund.
For more than a year undocumented workers have been excluded from unemployment insurance and the stimulus so they have been left without income. The strikers have confirmed that they will continue to strike until the budget is passsed, which should have happened by April 1.