Immigrant advocates rally for pro-immigrant NYC budget, legislation

Immigrant advocates rally for pro-immigrant NYC budget and legislation.
Photo courtesy NYIC

The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), elected officials, member organizations, allies and immigrant New Yorkers on Thursday held a NYC For All Families rally on the steps of City Hall calling for a New York City Fiscal Year 2025 budget and legislation that prioritizes the needs of immigrant New Yorkers.

Advocates called for a wide range of measures, including the Stop Shelter Evictions Act, $109 million in funding for immigration legal services, a baseline $5 million investment to increase language services, $25M for Promise NYC and expanded CityFHEPS eligibility regardless of immigration status.

“The mayor must fully fund services for our communities,” said Council Member Alexa Avilés, District 38, chair of the Committee on Immigration. “Our priorities remain crystal clear: legal services, transfer schools, language justice and more.

“From Wolof to Mandarin, people of all backgrounds deserve a shot at a dignified life in our city, and it is our collective power that makes the change we need,” she added.

“NYIC’s 2024 priorities for quality education, good jobs, adequate healthcare, and dignified housing, reflect our unwavering commitment to building a city that uplifts all New Yorkers, regardless of their immigration status and no matter when they arrived,” said Council Member Shahana Hanif, District 39. “These goals are anchored by my legislation Int. 210, the Stop Shelter Evictions Act, which would eliminate the 30-and 60-Day shelter caps and Int. 214, which aims to stop NYPD and DOC collaboration with ICE for immigrant detention and offering recourse for impacted individuals.

“Another essential program that puts undocumented families on the path to self-sufficiency is the Promise NYC child care program,” she added. “The benefits of this program demonstrate what is possible when we invest in stability for working families.”

“Having been born into a family of immigrants, I’ve seen first-hand the roadblocks that our new neighbors face when accessing housing, employment, and education,” said Council Member Shaun Abreu, District 7. “But I also know what NYIC knows: when immigrants have the resources and support to thrive, our entire city thrives alongside them. After all, this is what sets us apart. This is what makes our city so special. Let’s double down on it—not run away from it.”

“The budget priorities from NYIC are common sense supportive services that will make our city stronger and safer,” said Council Member Jennifer Gutierrez, District 34. “Our strength lies in recognizing that every individual, regardless of origin, contributes to our community – I am proof of what can happen when that belief is actualized. Our collective success hinges on embracing and empowering all who call this city home.”

“New York Immigration Coalition recognizes what all New Yorkers should: Ours is a city of immigrants, and our priorities should reflect that fact. Next to the pressing needs of the immigrant community, these requests are modest. We should rise to the occasion and support them. I’m proud to back NYIC in this push and to share the message that everyone belongs,” said Council Member Chi Ossé, District 36.

Murad Awawdeh, NYIC’s president and chief executive officer, said: “New York is a city of immigrants, which has been built and rebuilt by our communities for centuries.

“We know that when we invest in newcomers and long-term immigrant New Yorkers alike and provide the tools they need to succeed, our city’s economy and culture reap the long-term benefits,” added Awawdeh, whose coalition is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization that represents over 200 immigrant and refugee rights groups throughout New York.

“Access to a quality education, a good job, housing, language services and healthcare, rather than austerity and marginalization, is what all New Yorkers need to get on the road to self-sufficiency,” he continued. “As we welcome our newest neighbors to our great city, we are urging the Mayor and City Council to continue its fight for immigrant and working New Yorkers.”

He said, this year, the NYIC is campaigning for: Preserving the Right to Shelter for all New Yorkers by passing the Stop Shelter Evictions Act (Intro 210); ending City support for detention, deportation and mass incarceration; $109 million for legal services; redirecting NYPD funding; and ensuring economic power and good jobs; and $21.8 million for NYC Department of Youth and Community Development Adult Literacy programs.

Awawdeh said NYIC is also campaigning for $9 million in adult literacy discretionary funding; $25 million for Promise NYC childcare; passage of the People’s Banking Act Package;

building political power and guaranteed civil rights; $5 million to establish the NYC Community Interpreter Bank and language access worker cooperatives; and securing access to a quality education.

In addition, he said NYIC is campaigning for $300,000 to support English Language Learner programs at transfer schools; $500,000 to support schools with substantial newly arrived populations; $4 million for the Immigrant Family Communication and Outreach Initiative

Creating healthy communities; $4 million for Access Health; and expanding CityFHEPS eligibility to New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status.