Details Yet Unclear On Supporting New York's Muslim Immigrant Communities
NEW YORK, NY – Yesterday, Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Council released the New York City budget for FY2019.
New York Immigration Coalition Executive Director, Steven Choi, issued the following statement:
“At a moment when immigrants are under attack, New York City Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Johnson renewed the City’s commitment to invest in our 3.3 million thriving immigrants – particularly with key investments in legal services, adult literacy and health care outreach.”
“But New York can go further to fulfill its promise as a beacon for immigrants. We continue to urge the Mayor to lift restrictions on due process that wrongly conflates criminal justice and immigration, and instead provide true due process for all immigrants in need. We also look forward to seeing the City strengthen all of our underserved immigrant communities - including Muslim communities beset by hate crimes and Trump's Muslim ban - at this critical moment.”
Key points of the City budget include:
- $12M for adult literacy education (same as FY2018)
- $49M for legal services (renewed, w/ $500,000 increase), but with due process exclusions for vulnerable immigrants
- $2.5M for AccessHealthNYC (increase from FY2018)
- $2M Immigrant Health Initiative (increase from FY2018)
- $4.3 million in the Department of City Planning’s (DCP) to establish a 2020 Census outreach office, and implement a public outreach campaign.
The New York Immigration Coalition, together with sixty partners, has formed New York Counts 2020, a coalition to counter the expected impact of the citizenship question on the 2020 census. The addition of a citizenship question will stoke unnecessary fear in immigrant communities and could result in a significant undercount, particularly already under-counted racial and ethnic minority groups. With immigrants constituting nearly 1 out of 4 New Yorkers, an undercount in the 2020 Census will have catastrophic consequences – costing all New Yorkers political power and billions of dollars in federal funding for key services. With support from the City, New York Counts 2020 will conduct local outreach and education to help reach an accurate count.
In February 2018, the NYIC and legal service providers released No Safe Harbor: Challenges in Obtaining Immigration Legal Services in New York. One of the most troubling findings was that New York City’s investment in legal services imposes arbitrary conditions on those who can receive city-funded legal services. Excluding individuals from accessing lawyers due to past criminal convictions poses a dire risk to due process for some of New York’s most vulnerable immigrants, who already face systemic racism and disproportionate law enforcement.
This exclusion exacerbates inequities and racial tensions within our criminal justice system and immigration legal system. It is also contrary to New York City’s long standing tradition as a welcoming city, and undermines its elected leaders’ attempts to position the city as a protector of those values against the current administration’s anti-immigrant agenda.
Adult Literacy Programs
Currently, New York City serves less than 3% (61,000) of the 2.2 million adults who lack English proficiency and/or a high school diploma. Last year, the city dedicated $12 million for community-based adult literacy programming. This year, this same amount has been dedicated, though it remains unclear if the Administration’s $8M portion of these fund was baselined.
Without baselined funds, programs have little security in their ability to continue programs each year, and the city cannot commit to a new procurement process with rates that adequately reflect the true costs of providing high quality, comprehensive adult literacy classes. A new procurement is vital and would allow for full-time instruction, case management, and a full range of necessary student retention and success supports. Current rates bankrupt programs and make addressing the acute need for adult literacy exceptionally difficult.