On Thursday, April 13, 2023, the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), immigrant parents and students, educators and advocates rallied.
They held a press conference on the steps of Tweed Courthouse to demand that New York City create more equitable access to public schools for immigrant youth and families through two critical education programs, and rejected the Mayor’s proposed 3% cuts to the Department of Education (DOE) budget.
Advocates are calling for the City to make a $3 million investment to baseline comprehensive services for the six new English Language Learner (ELL) Transfer School Programs in Queens, Bronx and Brooklyn, and a $2.1 million investment in a pilot program giving newly-arrived high-school-aged immigrant youth access to transfer schools in the outer boroughs; a $4 million investment in outreach, application and enrollment support for immigrant families of 3 and 4-year olds through the Linking Immigrant Families to Early Childhood Education (LIFE) Project; and a $75 million investment to hire additional social workers in schools to support the needs of newcomer asylum seekers.
“New York has a responsibility to provide equal access to education for all students, regardless of what language they speak, the amount of support they need to graduate, or their immigration status. We cannot afford to exclude an entire generation of young people who are eager to learn and contribute to our city’s shared thriving. I applaud the New York Immigration Coalition’s hard work to fight for accessible ELL curriculum for all who need it,” said NYC Comptroller Brad Lander.
“New York City has some of the best public schools in the country, but far too many are inaccessible for our immigrant neighbors. Language and transit barriers have long held back immigrant students, but it’s time we change that,” said Immigration Committee Chair, Council Member Shahana Hanif. “This budget cycle, I’m standing with the NYIC and their call for $3 million to invest in six new English Language Learner programs in schools across the five boroughs. Especially as more asylum seeker students enter our school system, this investment is critical to ensuring every student in our City has a chance to succeed.”
“Every young person in New York should receive a quality education as the foundation of building a successful life. Unfortunately, while the City estimates over 14,000 new asylum seeker youth have enrolled in our schools in the past year, the Adams administration is proposing slashing the Education budget again. We need to stop putting the futures of our children on the chopping block and start investing in our future workforce. Immigrant students deserve equal access to a quality education which begins with an investment in English Language Learner Transfer Schools, the LIFE Project, and other essential programs that will help newcomer youth thrive in New York. When we prioritize education for all New Yorkers, we can truly create the welcoming city that Mayor Adams keeps talking about,” said Andrea Ortiz, Senior Manager of Education Policy, New York Immigration Coalition.
“CIANA is proud to participate in the Education Collaborative and NYIC’s efforts to address the need for older immigrant youth to have access to a quality public school education. No matter which language they speak, or country they come from, newly arrived students should be able to attend a school near their home that is specifically designed for older ELLs, and one that provides the social/emotional support they need during this difficult time of transition. We stand by investment in English Language Learner Transfer Schools, the LIFE Project, and other vital programs that promote the successful integration of New York City’s newcomer youth.” said Emira Habiby Browne, Founder & CEO, Center for the Integration & Advancement of New Americans, Inc. (CIANA).
The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for more than 200 groups in New York State. We envision a New York state that is stronger because all people are welcome, treated fairly, and given the chance to pursue their dreams. Our mission is to unite immigrants, members, & allies so all New Yorkers can thrive. We represent the collective interests of New York’s diverse immigrant communities and organizations and devise solutions to advance them; advocate for laws, policies, and programs that lead to justice and opportunity for all immigrant groups; and build the power of immigrants and the organizations that serve them to ensure their sustainability, to improve people’s lives, and to strengthen our state.
Photo credit: Photo by Joe Swide.