Albany, NY-As Albany grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, immigrant advocates and allies successfully secured several investments meant to protect and empower the New Yorkers serving on the front lines of this crisis—immigrants. Governor Cuomo’s FY21 state budget includes a $10 million re-investment in the Liberty Defense Project. The victory came even as the Legislature and Governor moved quickly to negotiate a budget in the shadow of the COVID-19 crisis. After the state budget negotiations were concluded, Steve Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, issued the following statement:
“The NYIC thanks Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Heastie, alongside NYS Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Catalina Cruz, for standing with immigrant New Yorkers today by renewing critical funding for the Liberty Defense Project. The Liberty Defense Project has been a crucial lifeline for our communities, ensuring due process for all and keeping New York families together. During these uncertain times, when immigrant New Yorkers remain on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic—delivering food and cleaning our hospitals, and driving people to the hospital - it’s vital that we keep every New Yorker safe and secure.
There is still more work to be done, and even at this critical time we need a broader effort to support refugees (often health care providers) and immigrant parents struggling to educate kids at home. But today we proved that New York can continue to provide common-sense solutions to protect and empower immigrant New Yorkers.”
Starting in January, the NYIC began pushing the New York’s Promise Package, which called for increases to critical investments for our immigrant communities through legal services, literacy education, and refugee integration programs, to be included in the FY21 state budget. Following months of advocacy, targeted campaigns, and virtual/on-the-ground organizing, the NYIC secured funding for each of the priorities in the New York’s Promise Package:
- $10 Million for Immigrant Legal Services:
- These investments in immigration legal services will ensure that New Yorkers facing complex immigration issues have access to legal support and assistance.
- $1 Million for the New York State Enhanced Services to Refugees Program:
- These investments in the New York State Enhanced Services to Refugees Program (NYSESRP) will help refugee resettlement agencies more fully serve refugees already in their communities and attract others to areas that recognize refugees as contributors to population growth and economic revitalization.
- $7.8 Million for Adult Literacy Education:
- These investments in Adult Literacy Education (ALE) will support high-quality, community-based learning for adults.