Albany, NY-Following the end of the legislative session in Albany, immigrant rights advocates, led by the New York Immigration Coalition, celebrated several historic wins—including the creation of a $2.1 billion fund for excluded workers and the passage of the NY HERO Act, which ensures the protection of millions of front-line workers, regardless of immigration status by creating permanent, enforceable health and safety standards to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other airborne infectious diseases in the workplace.
Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition:
“The FY2021 Budget and Legislative session proved how essential immigrants are to New York’s recovery with the creation of a one-of-a-kind $2.1 billion fund for excluded workers, the passage of a bill securing workplace protections from viruses, such as COVID-19, and a $16.4 million reinvestment in legal services funding for immigrant New Yorkers and the Office for New Americans. While we secured critical wins in our work to protect immigrant families across the state, we still fell short of victory on key issues important to safeguarding immigrant communities. Next session, Albany can start to build a better future for the state by ending collusion between law enforcement and ICE; ensuring that our government services are available to more New Yorkers, by expanding language access; and providing healthcare coverage to any New Yorker suffering from long-term COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of their immigration status. In 2020, immigrant New Yorkers held this state together as essential workers, and they must not be left behind if New York is going to be able to rebuild and recover from this pandemic.”
After securing a $2.1 billion Fund for Excluded Workers, the passage of the NY Hero Act, and a $16.4 million reinvestment in legal services for immigrant New Yorkers and the Office for New Americans, the NYIC made a concerted push for the passage of the New York for All Act, which would end any cooperation between US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local law enforcement in the state. Additionally, the NYIC played a crucial role in the passage of Senator Timothy Kennedy’s Language Access Bill, which would significantly expand language services in New York State. The NYIC will push for it to pass both houses and signed into law next session. Looking towards the 2022 legislative session, the NYIC aims to secure the passage of Coverage for All, which would create a statewide health insurance product for New Yorkers who are excluded from eligibility for coverage because of their immigration status. Finally, the coalition will be campaigning for the Access to Representation Act, a bill that would guarantee a right to counsel for immigrants facing deportation in New York.