The 2021 state budget raises spending, taxes and borrowing – but it’s still not enough to satisfy all demands for help.
Members of immigrant advocacy groups protested outside the Trenton War Memorial where Gov. Phil Murphy signed the budget and associated tax increases Tuesday, at one point blocking the road in front of the building, because the state still hasn’t provided direct pandemic economic aid to unauthorized immigrants who aren’t eligible for federal stimulus payments or unemployment benefits.
“We’re here to demand what is rightfully ours,” said Deya Aldana, an organizer for Make the Road New Jersey. “We are here to say that we demand economic relief for everyone.”
“We’ve been called essential workers. Most immigrants also pay taxes. We pay huge amounts of taxes, and yet immigrants are excluded,” said Maneesha Kelkar, interim director of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. “It is time, after six months of no relief. It is time.”
State Sen. Teresa Ruiz, D-Essex, was continuing to press the case for one-time payments to immigrants when the Legislature passed the budget last week.
“It is still months into the pandemic and several thousand New Jerseyans who pay into the state budget in millions of dollars have not received one dollar of relief in this crisis,” Ruiz said.