HARTFORD, CT — It wasn’t part of the special session agenda but immigrant groups rallied Tuesday outside the state Capitol to call on lawmakers and Gov. Ned Lamont to approve more funding for the undocumented population.
“Funds, not crumbs,” they chanted.
Undocumented immigrants don’t qualify for federal assistance, which is why they are asking the state for additional assistance.
The state of Connecticut announced in June that it will be giving $2.5 million to about 2,500 undocument families to help them pay their rent. The undocumented community and their advocates said Tuesday that they have no way of accessing the money.
That funding, along with another $1 million in small cash donations from the philanthropic organization 4-CT, was announced last month. However, the community is still struggling to unlock that funding, too.
Max Reiss, a spokesman for Gov. Ned Lamont, said the governor continues to lead on the issue.
“The governor has been a leader in providing support for undocumented residents in this pandemic, especially compared to other states and those efforts will continue,” Reiss said.
Camila Bortolleto of Connecticut Students for a Dream (C4D) said the $1 million gift card program from 4-CT is a mystery to the community and they’ve also been unable to access the $2.5 million in rental assistance from the state.
“We demand a $150 million real relief fund,” Bortolleto said.
She said immigrant communities have been left behind.
Denise Rodas of C4D said she’s from Ecuador and moved to the United States when she was 13 years old.
Rodas said she’s been working as a CNA and has not lost her job, but her mother, who is a housekeeper, lost her job one month ago.
“My family is undocumented so we obviously did not receive the coveted stimulus check,” Rodas said. “So my dad has been the only one financially supporting my family.”
She said that as immigrants, they deserve the same rights as everyone. They are equally impacted by the virus as everyone else living in Connecticut.
“Immigrants will always be essential and we deserve to be treated fairly,” Rodas said.
Vanesa Suarez of the Semilla Collective said the $3.5 million attempt to address the immigrant community “is one example of how the state continues to throw crumbs at deep systemic issues instead of addressing the root of the problem.”
She said it disregards the needs the immigrant community has demonstrated.
“We need real relief,” Suarez said.