Advocates, Allies, and Immigrant NYers Rally Outside City Hall for a Budget that Centers Immigrants as Essential to NYC’s Recovery

New York, NY—Today, the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), immigrant rights advocates, allies, and immigrant New Yorkers brought their demand for an FY 2022 budget that recognizes immigrants as essential to New York’s recovery to City Hall. The rally comes 15 days before the July 1 budget deadline.

Understanding the enormous impact of this year’s budget negotiations, the NYIC developed the Immigrants are Essential to New York’s Recovery agenda. The plan is a blueprint for a more equitable New York, which includes top priorities ranging from immigration legal services to improved healthcare coverage to deeper investments in immigrant students.

“For the last 15 months, immigrant New Yorkers held our city together in the face of a global pandemic and a catastrophic economic recession,” said Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition. “Now, as we look to prepare New York for a new decade, ignoring the needs of immigrant communities would not only be callous but would result in an incomplete recovery. Throughout its history, New York City has relied on immigrants to drive our economy forward. Every year, immigrant New York families pay an estimated $8 billion in City and State personal income taxes and approximately $2 billion in City property taxes, alone. But immigrant New Yorkers need investments in their future, too. We need the legal services that keep our families together, funding to address the massive learning loss of immigrant students, and a reallocation of resources from a criminal justice system that targets far too many Black and brown New Yorkers to healthcare and mental health services. Without these crucial resources, immigrant New Yorkers won’t have an equal chance at recovery.”

“CPC’s Adult Literacy Program provides thousands of students from all over the city with free culturally-competent and language-accessible classes and wraparound services,” said Caroline Scown, English for Speakers of Other Languages Instructor, Chinese-American Planning Council. “At its core, Adult Literacy is about equipping people with the skills they need to take care of their families, navigate city resources, and find meaningful work. Now more than ever, if we're serious about helping communities recover and rebuild, we need to invest. We need to baseline $12 million for Adult Literacy and launch the Quality Adult Literacy Pilot Project.”

“After nearly three decades of providing legal services to women living in poverty in New York City, Her Justice knows that navigating our deeply complex immigration systems successfully is not feasible without representation,” said Esther Limb, Supervising Attorney, Her Justice. “Without sufficient legal services funding, not only will many immigrants be left to forego the relief that they may be entitled to under the law, not only will they stay with abusers and traffickers because there is no other choice, but they may also fall prey to unscrupulous, unlicensed and inexperienced individuals who hold themselves out in communities as experts but who often put immigrants at further risk of removal by ICE.”

"NMIC has faced the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic by working to ensure that our community continues to have access to the essential services they need to survive,” said Maria Lizardo, Executive Director, Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation. “Our community members have struggled with the unimaginable loss of family members, health care issues, and financial instability that has caused thousands to fall deep into rental arrears and wondering where they will get their next meal. This has taken an enormous toll on them. As we join together to lift our City, an equitable recovery must focus on ensuring that community members have access to free, culturally competent counseling services. Funding this essential work will allow our communities to embark on the journey of therapy that will provide them with the tools to cope, heal, mourn, process, and grow."

"At SACSS, we make sure that clients are not just enrolled into affordable health insurance but are assisted in navigating the complex healthcare system and are also connected to other benefits,” said Sudha Acharya, Executive Director, South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS). “Initiatives like Access Health have provided the much-needed opportunity to CBOs to continue outreach during the pandemic and serve the most diverse and hard-hit neighborhoods of New York City."


The New York Immigration Coalition’s Immigrants are Essential to New York’s Recovery plan includes the following priorities for New York City’s FY2022 budget.

Investments in Immigration Legal Services:

  • Renew $58.2 million in funding for immigration legal services to ensure continuity of services and help defend immigrants against the aggressive, anti-immigrant policies from Washington that continue even during this pandemic.

Ensuring Immigrant NYers Can Access Mental Health Care services:

  • Allocate $13 million to make the Connections to Care pilot a permanent program and expand it to more immigrant-serving and immigrant-led CBOs so they can offer mental health services through co-location, staff training, and technical assistance.

Addressing Learning Loss and Ensuring a Quality K-12 Education:

  • Support youth left furthest behind by remote learning, including English Language Learners (ELL), children of Limited English Proficient (LEP), and immigrant families, including those who also have disabilities by:

    • Urgently developing and implementing a plan for catching up ELLs and students with Limited English Proficient (LEP) parents that includes ELL summer school for students in K-12th grade and fully incorporates students in K-2nd grade, ELLs, ELLs with disabilities, and students with LEP families.

    • Invest $20 million annually for at least three years ($60M total) for grants to community-based organizations (CBOs) and schools already well-positioned to support ELLs and immigrant families to provide additional academic programming to students, facilitate family engagement, and assist families with language access and communication.

Creating Healthy Communities:

  • Restore $3.25 million in funding for Access Health NYC so that CBOs and community health centers on the front lines of pandemic response can educate the communities suffering the highest death rates from COVID-19 about health access, coverage, and rights.

Doubling Down on Adult Literacy:

  • Restore and baseline $12 million for Adult Literacy Funding to address the immense, inequitable gap in digital literacy, systems navigation skills, and access to information in English between immigrant parents and many other New Yorkers, which is preventing immigrant children from accessing remote learning.

  • Fund the NYCCAL Adult Literacy Pilot at $10.5 million to invest four times the funding for adult literacy providers and cover the actual cost of service for adult literacy programming while including new indicators of quality outcomes focused on COVID relief.

Ending City Support for Mass Incarceration

  • Dramatically reduce funding for the NYPD by at least $1 billion.