On Tuesday evening, Governor Cuomo unveiled the proposed FY 2018 Executive Budget.
The FY 2018 budget does the following:
- Funding for New York State Office of New Americans remains at $6.4 million, with no increase in the budget, nor any outlined state resources for the Governor's announced “Immigrant Legal Defense Fund”;
- Funding for Adult Literacy Education was reduced to $6.3 million, a million-dollar cut from last year’s enacted budget;
- Language that defines how school funding is calculated and distributed amongst districts was revised significantly.
The following is a statement from Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition:
“On the eve of an inauguration of a Presidency that has provoked fear in New York’s immigrant communities, Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget does not fully live up to his ambitious words and promises. We will need greater leadership for our State throughout this legislative session to protect New York’s four million immigrants and serve as a model for the rest of the country.
"This budget includes no new dollars in immigrant legal services, a blow to the hopes of legal service providers and the immigrants they serve, including prospective new citizens looking to naturalize, DACA recipients looking to preserve their status, and other immigrants at risk of deportation. The failure to increase a single new dollar in the Office of New Americans or in the Governor’s “Immigrant Legal Defense Fund” is frankly disappointing and should be rectified.
“In addition, the Governor’s executive budget includes cuts to Adult Literacy Education (ALE), a crucial lifeline to New York’s newcomers to fully integrate into our economy and society. With coming Federal changes set to drain more money for these critically needed English and civics classes, the reduction of ALE from $7.3 million to $6.3 million is particularly troubling given the Governor’s many statements touting an investment in education. A stronger investment simply must be made in the State’s 3.5 million adults, immigrant and native-born alike, who lack their high school diploma, English proficiency, or both – but with the right support can expand their access to good jobs and better lives.
“Lastly, we are extremely concerned about the proposed changes to the distribution of school funds. We must do all we can to ensure that all school districts - regardless of wealth - are able to provide a quality education to their students, with resources to serve low-income students and English Language Learners in particular. We call on Governor Cuomo to live up to the State’s obligation to ensure that immigrant and low-income youth from vulnerable communities get the quality schooling they need.
“We recognize that the executive budget is just the first step in a long legislative process. We reaffirm our commitment to working closely with the Governor and the Legislature throughout this legislative session to make sure New York can become a model state in empowering its four million immigrants, at a time when their worst fears were poised to become a reality.”
The New York Immigration Coalition is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees.The NYIC aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all by promoting immigrants’ full civic participation, fostering their leadership, and providing a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.