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Advocates Push to Let Immigrants Get Professional Licenses

Plus: Immigrant workers march for more COVID-19 relief funding, and Bronx fire victims say the city isn’t doing enough to help them

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A group of 45 immigration advocates and community organizations sent a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul and the New York state legislature on Tuesday to push for the approval of the Empire State Licensing Act. The bill would enable immigrant New Yorkers to obtain professional licenses regardless of their legal status. It would also allow them “to better provide for their families,” and “better serve the needs of our state, economy, and workforce,” the letter says. Programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status provide work authorization and deportation protections, but advocates consider those measures to be temporary and limited. 

In other local immigration news…

Immigrant workers march for more COVID-19 relief funding

Hundreds of immigrant workers stopped traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge roadways earlier this week as they seek more relief for unemployed immigrants. They’re looking for $3 billion for the Excluded Workers Fund and the creation of a permanent unemployment insurance program. About 128,000 applicants were able to access $2.1 billion before the initial fund ran out in October — about two months after the state began accepting applications. Some 95,000 applications were still pending. Gov. Kathy Hochul did not include any additional funding in her January budget proposal, instead offering the legislature $2 billion in discretionary funding. That could lead to competition between several priorities, including the Excluded Workers Fund and the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The City

ICYMI: Bronx fire victims say city isn’t doing enough

📍 Documented Original
Many readers had a lot to say about our exclusive story on the Bronx apartment fire victims we published on Wednesday, and they didn’t shy away from sharing those grievances. More than two months after the fire in the Twin Parks apartment building killed 17 people and left dozens more without homes, just 10% of the emergency fund raised for tenants has been distributed. “We don’t know where that money is going,” said Ariadna Phillips, the founder of South Bronx Mutual Aid. “The fund has no accountability and has zero transparency.” The families affected by the fatal incident are now faced with a difficult choice: return to their smoke-damaged homes or move into another hotel contracted by the city. Catch up on the story on Documented

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