Advocates, Allies, and Immigrant New Yorkers Rally Outside City Hall for a Budget that Centers Immigrants as Essential to NYC’s Recovery

Photo credit: Bill Moore

On June 15, 2021, the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), immigrant rights advocates, allies, and immigrant New Yorkers brought their demand for an FY 2022 budget that recognizes immigrants as essential to New York’s recovery to City Hall. The rally came 15 days before the July 1 budget deadline.

Understanding the enormous impact of this year’s budget negotiations, the NYIC developed the Immigrants are Essential to New York’s Recovery agenda. The plan is a blueprint for a more equitable New York, which includes top priorities ranging from immigration legal services to improved healthcare coverage to deeper investments in immigrant students.

“For the last 15 months, immigrant New Yorkers held our city together in the face of a global pandemic and a catastrophic economic recession,” said Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition. “Now, as we look to prepare New York for a new decade, ignoring the needs of immigrant communities would not only be callous but would result in an incomplete recovery. Throughout its history, New York City has relied on immigrants to drive our economy forward. Every year, immigrant New York families pay an estimated $8 billion in City and State personal income taxes and approximately $2 billion in City property taxes, alone. But immigrant New Yorkers need investments in their future, too. We need the legal services that keep our families together, funding to address the massive learning loss of immigrant students, and a reallocation of resources from a criminal justice system that targets far too many Black and brown New Yorkers to healthcare and mental health services. Without these crucial resources, immigrant New Yorkers won’t have an equal chance at recovery.”

The New York Immigration Coalition’s Immigrants are Essential to New York’s Recovery plan includes the following priorities for New York City’s FY2022 budget.

Investments in Immigration Legal Services:
– Renew $58.2 million in funding for immigration legal services to ensure continuity of services and help defend immigrants against the aggressive, anti-immigrant policies from Washington that continue even during this pandemic.
– Ensuring Immigrant NYers Can Access Mental Health Care services:
– Allocate $13 million to make the Connections to Care pilot a permanent program and expand it to more immigrant-serving and immigrant-led CBOs so they can offer mental health services through co-location, staff training, and technical assistance.

Addressing Learning Loss and Ensuring a Quality K-12 Education:
– Support youth left furthest behind by remote learning, including English Language Learners (ELL), children of Limited English Proficient (LEP), and immigrant families, including those who also have disabilities by:
– Urgently developing and implementing a plan for catching up ELLs and students with Limited English Proficient (LEP) parents that includes ELL summer school for students in K-12th grade and fully incorporates students in K-2nd grade, ELLs, ELLs with disabilities, and students with LEP families.
– Invest $20 million annually for at least three years ($60M total) for grants to community-based organizations (CBOs) and schools already well-positioned to support ELLs and immigrant families to provide additional academic programming to students, facilitate family engagement, and assist families with language access and communication.

Creating Healthy Communities:
Restore $3.25 million in funding for Access Health NYC so that CBOs and community health centers on the frontlines of pandemic response can educate the communities suffering the highest death rates from COVID-19 about health access, coverage, and rights.

Doubling Down on Adult Literacy:
– Restore and baseline $12 million for Adult Literacy Funding to address the immense, inequitable gap in digital literacy, systems navigation skills, and access to information in English between immigrant parents and many other New Yorkers, which is preventing immigrant children from accessing remote learning.
– Fund the NYCCAL Adult Literacy Pilot at $10.5 million to invest four times the funding for adult literacy providers and cover the actual cost of service for adult literacy programming while including new indicators of quality outcomes focused on COVID relief.
– Ending City Support for Mass Incarceration
– Dramatically reduce funding for the NYPD by at least $1 billion.

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