In Win for Advocate Groups, Cuomo’s State of the State Features Concrete Proposals for New York’s 4 Million Immigrants

But more needed to bring state closer to a comprehensive agenda for New York immigrants

New York, NY—In response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2020 State of the State address, which included hard-won victories for immigrant advocates, Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, issued the following statement:

“We thank Governor Cuomo for heeding the advice of African Communities Together, Masa, the Asian American Federation and the NYIC by supporting the expansion and codification of NYS’ language access executive order. This alongside the proposed expansion of occupational licensing for immigrants with work authorization would ensure more New Yorkers can participate in our economy and communities. These priorities follow last year’s passage of Green Light NY legislation —a historic moment restoring the right to obtain a driver's license for thousands of immigrants.
But our work is far from done. Immigrants are still under attack from a hostile Trump administration that is bent on terrorizing New York’s four million immigrants. If we are going to get serious about ensuring the success of all New Yorkers, we must continue to partner with Albany on a comprehensive agenda that protects and empowers some of New York’s most vulnerable communities and builds on the success of Green Light NY, expanding language access and breaking down barriers to success.

That means establishing an absolute right to counsel and making legal services available for all immigrants facing deportation, investing resources in New York’s historic refugee service providers to address the refugee resettlement crisis, and expanding Adult Literacy Education (ALE) and language programs to close the opportunity gap in our high-need schools and for all New Yorkers regardless of age. And just as we enabled all New Yorkers to be able to obtain drivers licenses regardless of immigration status, we must extend health coverage to those same people via a state-funded Essential Plan for undocumented adults. Given the nonstop attacks from the Trump administration, New York must send a clear message that we have a 21st-century agenda for New York that protects and empowers all immigrants in the historic home of the Statue of Liberty.”