The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for more than 200 immigration groups in New York State, is urging the State Legislature to pass urgently pass a redistricting plan that keep immigrant communities together.
“The blunt fact remains that we worked far too hard to secure an accurate count of our communities to settle for anything less than a truly fair set of district maps,” said Murad Awawdeh, NYIC’s executive director.
“Now, it is incumbent upon our state legislature to pass a redistricting plan that keeps communities together and is fully inclusive of their input — including communities of color and immigrant communities,” he added. “The State Legislature must use the input submitted to the Independent Redistricting Commission when drawing its maps, and it must hold a hearing for public comment after it draws its maps and before they are voted on.”
On Tuesday, NYIC and several community-based organizations held a media briefing focused on the impact of New York’s redistricting process on immigrant New Yorkers.
The briefing came after the NYS legislature’s release of new congressional and state legislative districts.
Last month, the Independent Redistricting Commission failed to meet the Jan. 25 deadline to send a final set of proposed district maps to the NYS Legislature.
Earlier this year, Albany legislators voted down the two sets of maps the commission unveiled. The maps detail New York’s congressional and state legislative districts.
With the Democrats holding a very narrow majority in the US House of Representatives, Awawdeh said these maps will have a national impact.
“A fair redistricting process means that we center the voices of people most impacted while keeping communities of interest whole such that we can elect a representative of our choice,” said Mon Yuck Yu, executive vice president and chief of staff, Academy of Medical & Public Health Services. “Not only are we disappointed that a bipartisan compromise could not be reached for a single set of maps through the IRC, but the State Legislature is voting on a set of maps this week without public input.
“When our communities are kept whole and compact, we are stronger and more visible. To ensure that this process is fair and equitable, we must have a public hearing after LATFOR’s maps are released, and we urge Gov. Hochul to restrain from signing any bills adopting the maps until a public hearing occurs,” Yu added. “A more equitable redistricting process will enable us to streamline resources for the most vulnerable.”
“At first glance, redistricting appears mundane even boring, but make no mistake it is a process that will have enormous impacts on every New Yorker,” said Mimi Pierre Johnson, president, Elmont Cultural Center.
“Every 10 years, whether we participate in the redistricting process or not, we allow politicians to make decisions about our lives,” Johnson added. “We, the people, are supposed to choose our representatives, not politicians choosing us. Our district maps should benefit us rather than allowing a handful of elected officials to retain their grips on power.”