One-House Budgets Make Strides for Immigrant NYers, But Deeper Investments Needed

Albany, NY—Yesterday, the New York State Senate and Assembly submitted their one-house budget resolutions. The proposals include investments totaling $74.2 million for legal services funding, $250 million for the Housing Voucher Access Program, and the Senate’s proposed $175 million investment for Coverage for All. 

Murad Awawdeh, President and CEO, New York Immigration Coalition:

“We thank and commend Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins’ and Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie’s continued support of immigrant communities, and as our state continues to face unprecedented times, we continue to urge more critical investments. The past year has presented unparalleled challenges for immigrant New Yorkers; from struggling to receive vital legal services, housing, essential language support, healthcare and more. 

“We are pleased to see both houses take vital and inclusive steps to support New York’s working families. The legislature’s proposed investment in the Housing Access Voucher Program is a huge win for all New Yorkers and will ensure more families have access to safe, affordable, and accessible permanent housing. Additionally, both houses took the first steps towards alleviating the affordability crisis with the Senate advancing the Working Families Tax Credit Act (WFTC) and the Assembly proposing expanding critical elements of the program. These are important recognitions of the WFTC’s potential to lift thousands of children out of poverty and help struggling families pay their bills and we look forward to continued investments. Additionally, we applaud both houses for advancing Coverage for All, cementing their commitment to expanding insurance eligibility for all low-income immigrant New Yorkers. Ensuring this important legislation is included as part of the final budget package will improve the health outcomes of hundreds of thousands and is a vital step towards creating a healthier New York. 

“The investment in legal services funding via the Office of New Americans, which is slightly greater than last year, falls short of the $150 million necessary to put immigrants on the path to status and work authorizations. We were equally disappointed to see that the funding for the expansion of the Language Access Act remained stagnant from last year—we continue to hope that the legislature reconsiders investing an additional $8 million to ensure New Yorkers across all demographics are no longer denied access to vital information and government services. 

“We look forward to working with both Houses to advance all our priorities in the coming weeks. Investing in our immigrants is an investment in the future of New York State, as these individuals and their families are then able to more quickly and efficiently enter our workforce and communities. We call on the Legislature to strive to make our immigrant communities whole and power our state into the future.”