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Like several New York City lawmakers, Queens Congressmember Grace Meng is worried about the federal government’s data use agreement policy that accompanies the coronavirus vaccine. It requires states gather personal identification information from those who get vaccinated and pass the data to the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Immigrants are concerned this personal information, including Social Security numbers, passport numbers and driver license numbers, could be shared with other agencies, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security. Meng represents many essential workers, many of them immigrants, and sent a letter to the HHS and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stating the policy could affect the vaccination process and should be reversed. WCBS News Radio 880
In other local immigration news…
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Cuomo Expands Rent Relief to More New Yorkers
On Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced he would modify the Homes and Community Renewal program so more renters could be eligible for help after New York State gave out $40 million out of $100 million in federal funds to low-income tenants. The program was created to help tenants struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic, but by late October, less than $40 million was distributed to more than 15,000 landlords. Roughly 57,000 tenants were denied for the program, which required tenants earn below 80 percent of what they earned before the pandemic and pay more than 30 percent of their income toward their rent when they applied. Gothamist
Senators Want New Jersey Counties to End Deals with ICE
New Jersey Democratic Sens. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker on Friday called on counties to terminate agreements with ICE to hold immigrant detainees. ICE has agreements with Bergen, Hudson and Essex counties that allows the agency to send immigrants in its custody to be held at their jails. ICE pays the counties between $110 and $120 per detainee per day. “No governmental entity in New Jersey should be accepting money from ICE to detain individuals, particularly when the agency continues to pursue inhumane xenophobic policies designed to terrorize and rip apart immigrant families; it has to stop,” Menendez said. Booker added that these arrangements “perpetuate dangerous and dehumanizing immigration enforcement tactics.” North Jersey
Essential Workers Struggle to Access COVID-19 Compensation and Death Benefits
Essential workers and their families continue to seek workers’ compensation and death benefits for coronavirus-related injuries that occurred while working. New York state data shows the Workers’ Compensation Board has awarded less than two percent of workplace injury claims affiliated with coronavirus. More than 12,000 COVID-related claims were made since the pandemic hit, as reported by the state’s Open Data portal, which was last updated Oct. 8. But the board decided to return wages of just 184 individuals who filed injuries between March and May. According to a report from the New School, immigrants occupy more than a third of jobs in “higher-than-average injury-prone industries” and were 28 percent of all workers in the state in 2017. Gotham Gazette
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