Hochul’s Executive Budget Fails to Fully Meet the Needs of Immigrants During NY’s Historic Crisis

New York, NY–Today, Governor Kathy Hochul released her first Executive Budget. The budget includes a slight increase in funding for The Liberty Defense Project, which provides free legal assistance and representation to immigrants outside of New York City, and increased funding for the Office of New Americans—critical to keeping New York families together. 

While these measures are critical to immigrant New Yorkers, Governor Hochul failed to address the vital need to expand health care coverage and unemployment benefits to every New Yorker, regardless of their immigration status. Pointing to numerous reports outlining the essential role New York’s immigrants play in the State’s economy and its ongoing battle against COVID-19, immigrant advocates expressed frustration with the Governor’s omission. In response, the New York Immigration Coalition outlined a detailed plan—including increased expansion of healthcare to hundreds of thousands of undocumented New Yorkers, additional funding for legal services, and further relief for the State’s immigrant communities.   

Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition:

“While there are some areas of notable progress for New York’s 4.4 million immigrants in this Executive Budget, far too much is missing to ensure the health and well-being of every New York family.  Governor Hochul’s failure to create a truly inclusive budget is not only short-sighted but is literally a life and death issue for immigrant New Yorkers, many of whom are serving as the tip of the spear in our State’s ongoing battle against COVID-19, There is no recovery without immigrant New Yorkers who have kept us open for business and feeding our families throughout this pandemic.”

Failure to lead on health care access:

“This is a matter of life or death for New Yorkers who cannot access health insurance because of their birthplace. New York State must right this wrong by passing Coverage for All and extending health coverage to low-income New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, to limit the continued damage caused by this pandemic and ensure the well-being of New York’s workforce and families today and into the future. The lack of inclusion of our essential workers on the frontlines of this pandemic is more than a slap in the face to our immigrant community who have kept this state running.”

Progress on Keeping NY’s families together:

“We are pleased to see Governor Hochul’s inclusion of $12M for the Liberty Defense Project and $8M for the Office of New Americans to keep New York families together. While these increases are notable, it just doesn’t go far enough after four years of the country’s most anti-immigrant Presidential administration and more than two years of a pandemic creating a severe backlog in our nation’s immigration courts. Without a full $25M investment in legal services funding, our families remain at risk of separation, hurting both our communities and New York’s recovery.”

Failure to build a strong and sustainable economic recovery for all NYers:

“Last year, thanks to the Excluded Workers Fund, thousands of immigrant New York families were able to pay their rent, feed their families, and buy diapers, formula, and other essentials to help their families get through an unprecedented time. But the need for this groundbreaking fund still exists and Governor Hochul’s grand vision of a resurgent New York economy won’t come to fruition if she does not provide every New Yorker with the relief they require in order to recover.”