April 1st, 2019

State Funds $20M for 2020 Census Community Outreach, $11M for LIberty Defense Project, $7.8M for Adult Literacy Education, $2M for Refugee Resettlement, and Enacts 1 Day Bill

No Funding for Expanded Access to Driver’s Licenses, No Funding for Health Insurance for Undocumented Immigrants

NEW YORK, NY – Following the passage of the SFY 2019-20 budget, which notably failed to include legislation allowing all New Yorkers to apply for a driver’s license, regardless of immigration status, Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, issued the following statement:

“A lot of advocates who’ve spent years fighting and waiting for New York to finally take action to empower immigrant families are disappointed with the lack of progress that has been made on key priorities during the legislative session. There were some laudable accomplishments - finally passing the DREAM Act, securing $20 million for Census 2020 outreach, as well as $11 million for the Liberty Defense Project, $7.8M for Adult Literacy Education, $2M for the NYS Enhanced Services to Refugees Program (NYSESRP), and enacting the 1 Day to Protect New Yorkers Bill – and we thank the Assembly, Senate and Governor for making those happen. But much more still needs to be done, including providing health insurance coverage and access to drivers licenses for all NYS residents, in order to deliver on the promise of fairness and opportunity for immigrant New Yorkers.

“First and foremost, must be the passage of legislation allowing all New Yorkers to obtain a driver’s license without regard to immigration status. Restoring access to driver’s licenses - a right hundreds of thousands of immigrants had not too long ago - will give hard-working, tax-paying individuals the ability to fully contribute to our economy, attend to their family’s educational and healthcare needs, and improve road safety by reducing the number of uninsured and unregulated drivers on the road.

“There are now less than three months left in the legislative session. We will not let a single day go by without reminding our leaders in Albany that their job is not done until they make real progress on some of these remaining issues that are critically important for immigrants and all New Yorkers.”


In November 2017, the New York Immigration Coalition presented its Blueprint for Immigrant New York - a broad, comprehensive policy agenda to ensure the success of immigrant communities in New York over the the next decade. In the face of federal threats to immigrant communities, the Blueprint highlights the important role New York State must play, in key areas including healthcare, education, justice reform, and economic opportunity.

New York is home to 4.4 million immigrants who generate an estimated $230 billion in economic output, yet lags behind in terms of legislation--from driver’s license legislation to workforce development - that enables immigrants to succeed. The Blueprint for Immigrant New York is a roadmap for New York to develop stronger immigrant policies and catch up with other states, such as California, Illinois, and Washington.