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Undocumented immigrants in New Jersey can obtain professional and occupational licenses in New Jersey after Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed a bill allowing the practice Tuesday. In a virtual signing ceremony broadcast on Facebook, Murphy said the bill was “the right and smart” thing to do and will help fill labor shortages in health and other fields. “This bill is a good idea no matter what, but God knows the strain and stress on our medical and health professions made its timing and its urgency even more so,” he said. The legislation is the first on the East Coast that removes all immigration barriers to obtaining professional licenses for professions such as accountants, architects, beauticians, and many others. NorthJersey.com
In other local immigration news…
New York Frontline Workers Claim to Have Been Fired for Having COVID-19
Maria Hernández is a proud woman. Now 57, she escaped war-torn El Salvador 27 years ago and came to the United States. As a single mother of seven, life here wasn’t exactly a dream, but she was able to earn a living and her family could live in the relative safety of Long Island. For the past 25 years, her earnings came from a job at FDR Services, a company that cleans contaminated linens from New York City hospitals and nursing homes, at $13.33 an hour. But on April 9, the stability provided by the job suddenly disappeared. Hernández had returned to work after sick leave with a suspected case of Covid-19 and was abruptly fired with little explanation. Hernández couldn’t imagine she would be in such a predicament during a pandemic. Documented spoke to her and another worker who claimed to have been fired from FDR Services for exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms. Read more at Documented.
New York Census Response Lags Behind National Average
About 61 percent of New York state residents have responded to the census since it was first mailed out in April, falling behind the national average response rate of 64.6 percent. “Every single person matters,” Attorney General Letitia James said. “Therefore, every single person must be counted.” New Yorkers in Northern and Central New York have the lowest response rate. This will negatively impact the state’s ability to collect federal funding. The Trump administration has relentlessly attacked the census throughout his presidency. Johnson Newspaper Corp.
One Man’s Death Has Grave Implications for His Mother in Mexico
At least 2,270 Mexican immigrants have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. since the pandemic began. Axel Mantilla was one of them; he and 770 other Mexican citizens who died of the virus were residents of the tri-state area. Mantilla left his home 13 years ago and eventually made his way to New York and found work at a Colombian restaurant in Park Slope. In early March, he began to feel sick and took a taxi to an NYU hospital. He died shortly after. Mantilla, like many others, left behind relatives who depended on the remittances he provided from his work. Now, without his steady payments, his mother struggles to see a way forward. BuzzFeed News
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