GOV Cuomo sparked fury after New York created a $2.1billion Covid relief fund to give $15,600 stimulus payments to illegal immigrants.
The $2.2billion program for "excluded workers" will provide payments for hundreds of thousands of people who are not eligible for other government aid through a one-time payment.
Cuomo and New York lawmakers reached the deal on Tuesday as part of a $212billion state budget, but the excluded workers decision has been criticized heavily online.
"My family has been here since the 1620s and I get $3,200. Absolute joke country. Can't wait for America to just become a dictatorship so we don't have to put up with this anymore," wrote one furious twitter user.
Another wrote: "Sorry, this is just wrong. Both my parents worked 16 hour shifts as nurses at the height of the pandemic, often to the point of near collapse.
"They’ve buried friends and colleagues who worked just as hard. That $2 billion should be going to them or stores that had to close," he added.
However, others pointed out that people who are undocumented "went through the pandemic just like everybody else," and many are in dire need of financial assistance as well.
The $15,600 they would receive will be equivalent to $300 per week for the last year.
In order to receive the money, the migrants must verify that they were state residents last year who were ineligible for federal unemployment benefits and lost income as a result of the pandemic.
A lower sum of $3,200 will also be available for those who can prove at least their residency and identity.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the "excluded workers" measure during a press conference on Thursday.
"I know the people benefitting are New Yorkers," he said.
"Half a million of our fellow New Yorkers happen to be undocumented. They are part of our city. They are part of the life of our city."
"They have been suffering without a lot of the help other people have gotten," he later added. "This is part of how we recover together, so I do think it was the right thing to do."
Last week, protesters gathered outside of Cuomo's office carrying hard hats, pots, pans, brooms and more — symbolizing their labor — and signs that read "Our Labor Saved Lives."
Others went on a hunger strike to protest undocumented immigrants being left out of Covid relief for more than a year.
The new fund in New York dwarves a similar relief program already established in California.
Officials there set up a $75million cash assistance program last year.
It awarded undocumented immigrants a $500 one-time payment on a first-come, first-serve basis.
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