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Taxi Drivers Protest With No Coronavirus Relief in Sight

Taxi drivers shut down traffic around city hall to protest a lack of coronavirus aid, and continued on to medallion creditors who still demand payment

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Taxi drivers parked their cabs and shut down the area around New York City Hall on Wednesday morning to demand help from the mayor. COVID-19 has dried up most of their fares, and creditors are still seeking money for their taxi medallions that have plummeted in value. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance organized the rally, which proceeded from city hall to buildings of taxi loan creditors in Long Island and New Jersey. The organization estimates ridership has dropped between 80 percent and 90 percent during the pandemic. “The brokers, the mayor the banks, they all said they would take care of yellow medallion taxis, but instead, the TLC [Taxi and Limousine Commission) didn’t tell drivers the medallion was going to drop from hundreds of thousands of dollars to only $83,000 — leaving many of us with huge debt and it’s killing us,” one driver said outside City Hall. amNY

In other local immigration news…

Immigrants Pivot Jobs After Losing Work Due to COVID

Immigrants who lost work due to COVID-19 have had to reinvent their working lives to survive. Néstor Sánchez was fired from his demolition job, so he started selling avocados and face masks on the street. “I was told that there would be no more work available due to the coronavirus, and had no money because I had been working for just two weeks. I was fired, then I stayed at home for four months and the government told us that they would pay our rent, but nothing happened,” he said. Marco Antonio also lost work and is now selling phone accessories on the street. He is afraid of the virus returning. “Businesses are starting to reopen, rents are very high, and lots of people are out of work. I work in the streets, and I am afraid because many of my friends have died,” he said. City Limits

Firms Pushing EB-5 Visas as a COVID Relief Option

About $1.2 billion of the funding raised from the controversial midtown development project Hudson Yards came from the EB-5 visa program. The visa was originally designed to draw foreign investment to economically disadvantaged areas, and investors would receive visas for pumping money into Targeted Employment Areas (TEA). Butor Hudson Yards developers crafted a TEA that included several public housing developments in Harlem, even though they were unaffected by the build. Now, EB-5 firms are pushing the visa program as a viable way to provide business financing as banks have become more reluctant to lend. Barrons

Staten Island NYPD Precinct Warns of ICE Imposter Scam

A police precinct on Staten Island is warning residents that someone is targeting immigrants with a scam. A caller is pretending to be an agent from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement saying the person on the other end of the line has had their immigration status revoked, and they’ll be deported or put in jail if they don’t transfer money over the phone. The police are instructing anyone who receives the call to “just hang up.” silive.com

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