ELIZABETH, NJ - Make the Road New Jersey, an Elizabeth based civil rights organization focusing on immigrants and workers rights held a rally in Trenton Tuesday.
Over 25 adults and children gathered to protest for undocumented workers who have not received any government aid since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ‘100 Days without Relief Rally’ was held on the steps of the State House Annex. The stated goal of the gathering was to have the state establish a disaster relief fund specifically for those who have not received any money from other state and federal COVID relief efforts. Everything in the event was spoken in both Spanish and English.
Speaking through a translator one protestor told the spectators that she has been unemployed since the beginning of March. “I couldn’t pay my bills or buy food,” she said.
“I couldn’t help my family, my mother, my kids and my country,” she added. Undocumented workers are entilted to the same protections as other workers when it comes to workplace health and safety regulations. However when the state and federal governments allocated emergency funding for workers laid off in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The protestors directly called on Governor Murphy to devote funds for undocumented workers. Currently without a social security number there is no way for these workers to receive any of the government aid money that has been set aside. These workers currently represent 7.6 percent of New Jersey’s workforce.
Make the Road also announced support for Bill S2480 / A4171 which would provide a one time payment towards undocumented workers with a tax identification number that paid taxes in the 2018 or 2019 fiscal years. The bill was co-sponsored by Senator Joseph Cryan (D) who represents the 20th District, including Elizabeth, in the upper house of the New Jersey Legislature.