New York City Wants Taxpayer Bailout for Low Wage Migrant Economy

Low Wage Migrant Economy LEILA MACORAFPGetty Images

Taxpayers should bail out the low-wage migrant workers who support the city’s elite economy during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by the city’s comptroller, Scott Stringer.

Legal immigrants and illegal migrants are part of the city’s one million population who are “too often ignored, underpaid, and overworked … [and] very often lack healthcare, have to travel long distances to get to work, and struggle with childcare,” said Stringer’s March 26 report.

But Stringer’s plea for a taxpayer bailout of city’s cheap labor economy ignores the reality that Americans are impoverished by the elite’s support for mass migration, said Jessica Vaughan, policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies.

The report cites impoverished “Nurses, janitors, grocery clerks, childcare staff, bus and truck drivers … those in our social service, cleaning, delivery and warehouse, grocery, healthcare, and public transit industries.”

“Back in the day when these workers were Americans and unionized, they were making more than a living wage,” she said. Before elites encouraged millions of legal and illegal migrants to flood Americans’ workplaces, she said:

People raised their families on those jobs — they were good jobs … They were jobs that people were glad to have, where they could support their families [and homes] on them. They had [medical] benefits. If that was still the system …. they would have  good healthcare plans, and they would have sick leave.

Stringer is asking for “taxpayers to subsidize the city’s cheap labor economy,” and to preserve the city’s policy of  “corporate welfare through illegal immigration,” Vaughan said.

The disguised plea for the illegal immigration bailout is spotlighted by Stringer’s back-handed admission that “many in New York City are also undocumented, meaning they do all of the above while living in fear of deportation under the current federal administration.”

Stringer’s report touts the city’s high poverty levels, noting that 34 percent of  “all frontline workers” are at or below the poverty line. — including roughly 35 percent of rail clerks and 39 percent cleaning workers.

The report shows that 35 percent of cleaning workers and 27 percent of retail workers are either legal immigrants or illegal migrants:

This high-immigration low-wage economic policy is back by business groups that get more consumers, more renters, and more cheap workers. For example, Stringer’s report was touted in a tweet shared by Todd Schulte, the director of, an advocacy group  that was formed by wealthy West Coast investors:

Stringer did not ask for an immigration reform that would create a tight labor market where Americans workers could bargain on equal terms with their employers.

Instead, Stringer asked for a series of narrow government programs that would ensure that Democrat city officials can claim credit for the taxpayer aid:

The City and State should help provide free protective equipment and gear—including gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer—to all businesses … The City and State should subsidize [coronavirus] hazard pay for small businesses in order to properly compensate workers and help recruit new employees in these high-risk and currently understaffed industries … The State and City should ensure access to free healthcare for all direct service workers in “essential industries”—either via Medicaid or otherwise … the State must expand its unemployment, healthcare, and other safety net programs to cover independent contractors … bus service should be preserved while regular off-peak schedules should be maintained on the subway and commuter rail … For the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis, Metro-North and LIRR should charge a $2.75 fare for any and all trips into New York City … the City should offer a subsidy to any frontline worker who is interested in purchasing a bike or e-bike … Free and Easily Accessible Child Care for all Frontline Workers.

Stringer’s report also wants city officials to recruit migrants to vote for Democrat politicians:

Over half of frontline workers are foreign-born and nearly one-quarter are non-citizens … the City of New York must bolster pathways to citizenship and enable non-citizen voting in all municipal elections … It is only fair that those who pay taxes and provide essential frontline services to all New Yorkers should have a direct say in municipal affairs.

New York City’s leaders “have institutionalized the use of illegal workers, and made them a fixture of the workforce in New York,” responded Vaughan.

When this is exposed in an economic crisis, they want taxpayers and the government to bail them out with amnesty policies and cash assistance to these workers that they encouraged to settle there, while paying them substandard wages …  The bill is coming due for the cheap labor policies that they encouraged [the city’s] employers to adopt.


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