Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

immigrant communities

immigrant communities

  • CUNY students

    CUNY students (photo: CUNY)


    UPDATE: Not long after the publication of this article, the Trump administration rescinded the directive at hand regarding international students, visas, and remote learning. “This is welcome news for more than 100,000 international students in New York, more than one million students across the country, and millions of additional families across the world,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James, who had filed suit. See more background below:

    CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez released a statement on Friday, July 10 that

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  • nice volunteers groc

    NICE staff and volunteers deliver groceries to workers impacted by COVID-19


    “The rags were so filthy, and we had no soap and little water to clean them, so we felt like we were spreading the virus in the subway car by our cleaning…We started on Monday, but they did not give us masks ‘til Wednesday…The gloves they gave us were for making sandwiches, not for cleaning! They would break, and there were no more, so we brought our own…I worry: How many people will get sick because these cars were “cleaned” this way?”
    -Susanna, a New Immigrant Community

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  • afsc or united

    SCOTUS will soon rule on DACA in some way (photo: @afsc_org)


    Scores of facebook messages and emails fill my inbox each day from immigrant youth protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — the Obama-era initiative that provided work authorization and protection against deportation for undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.

    They ask the same question: what will the U.S. Supreme Court decide on DACA. 

    Any day now, the nine justices will answer this question that will decide the fate of ...

  • cm dr holds

    As courts in NY reopen, the role of ICE will be top of mind for many (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Courthouses in 30 upstate New York counties have begun the gradual process of restarting the state’s legal system. The pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for due process and just how critical access to justice is for New York’s most vulnerable communities. There remain, however, significant barriers for many who desperately need their day in court.

    For years, ICE has preyed on non-citizens in and around our courthouses, using fear and intimidation to

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  • cmcmadd hold pc

    Council Member Carlos Menchaca, the author (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    As in past crises, immigrant New Yorkers are suffering acutely under COVID-19: this time with a cruel twist. While thousands of immigrants work on the frontlines, caring for the sick, cleaning the subways, and keeping us all fed in quarantine, so many are unable to pay rent, keep their businesses afloat, or stay home because of their ...

  • voting gen elect

    Voters will have greater access to interpreters at the polls this fall (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The still-new New York City Civic Engagement Commission is set to launch a poll-site language assistance program for the fall general election, expanding on the limited interpretation services that are currently provided by the Board of Elections. 

    As required by the Voting Rights Act, the Board of Elections only provides interpreters to assist at poll sites in Spanish, Korean, Chinese, and Bengali. But New York City residents speak more

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  • ebike leg

    The push for legalizing e-bikes continues (photo: @nily)


    Right now, our colleagues in Albany can deliver immediate justice and help keep New York fed and moving during a time of crisis. They must legalize electric-bikes in the state budget being finalized right now.

    As part of the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the de Blasio and Cuomo administrations announced this week that restaurants, bars, and cafes would close for dine-in customers, but that take-out and delivery would remain available. This move made it clear that New York City’s food delivery workers,

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  • ban refugee remarks

    (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Our nation has long been a beacon of hope for those fleeing their home country due to violence and persecution based on their race, nationality, religion, political beliefs, or membership in a social group. With resettlement as a refugee’s last option for safety, we have welcomed them and supported their successful integration in the United States for nearly 40 years with the establishment of the Refugee Resettlement Program.

    Under the Trump administration, however, this country’s proud tradition of

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  • immigratrion adv

    (photo: Make the Road New York)


    With the January session of the Legislature around the corner, the state’s largest immigrant services and advocacy organization is launching a broad platform of progressive legislative proposals and is preparing a major push for its passage.

    On Tuesday, Make the Road New York, a statewide organization that boasts 24,000 members, is releasing its Respect and Dignity Platform for 2020, which proposes removing ICE from courthouses across the state, instituting a good cause eviction law, and ending discrimination in school disciplinary

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    (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    The Trump administration’s changes to the “public charge” policy are so ambiguous and poorly communicated as to leave little doubt about whether the resulting fear rippling through immigrant communities nationwide was baked into this bigoted scheme.

    Here in New York City, we refuse to follow the White House down this dark path. We are the home of Ellis Island, a town built with immigrant hands and made great by the diversity we celebrate. We will fight the imminent public charge policy changes with

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  • green light ny driver's licenses

    (photo: @EddieATaveras)


    As a former Suffolk county police officer and detective, I think a lot about what keeps our communities safer. And one thing I know is that our roads are safer when everyone who is driving is licensed and insured. That’s why, as a state legislator, I believe New York should let all qualified drivers, regardless of immigrant status, follow the same process to get a driver’s license.

    Driving is essential on Long Island. Throughout most of our region, you need a car to get to

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  • cm carlos menacha 2

    City Council Member Carlos Menchaca (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    May 8, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Pressing Immigration Issues, with City Council Member Carlos Menchaca

    cm carlos menchaca wbai 150City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, chair of the Council's immigration committee and co-chair of its 2020 Census Task Force, joined the show to discuss a wide range of

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  • gov cuomo immigrant

    (photo: governor's office)


    Immigrants in New York are under attack. In New York City for example, despite municipal policies to welcome and protect immigrants, ICE arrests of immigrant individuals with no criminal convictions have rapidly increased. From fiscal year 2016 to fiscal year 2018, ICE non-criminal arrests in the New York City area increased by 414%.

    These increases reflect the president’s negative rhetoric and policies

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  • rob cher mbdb

    (Photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Latino Americans now number close to 60 million and a significant share of the 18 million children therein have persistent achievement shortcomings. Unfortunately, Latinos are seen primarily through the lens of competing immigration narratives.

    Conservatives claim that they threaten American society: criminal activities, overuse of social services, and adverse effects on native-born workers, particularly less-educated black men. By contrast, pro–immigration activists point to positive examples, particularly

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  • 24128710992 658f50cdcf z

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    New Yorkers know that it is the city government’s job to make sure that they’re taken care of. We fill potholes, pick up the trash, clean the streets, clear the drains, prune the trees - you name it.

    But that’s not all we do. And while we faced many challenges as a city and as a nation in 2018, New Yorkers continue to step up and help their neighbors in need.

    Through our public health facilities, tens of thousands of dedicated professionals help their fellow New Yorkers put food on the table, help

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  • macaulay honors college

    (photo via CUNY Office of Communications)


    Every year thousands of undocumented youth graduate from high school with a singular hope of realizing their American Dream and making it to college. Too often, though, these dreams are deferred as immigrant youth are denied fair and equal access to state financial aid.

    There is a solution to this injustice: the New York Dream Act. The bill would promote education equity, ensuring that every student has an equal opportunity to fulfill their dream of attending college by allowing immigrant youth access to New

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  • mbdbgovanmcuomo lic

    Mayor de Blasio at the Amazon announcement (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    “I’m concerned about [New York] City being a sanctuary city, and your stated concern for New York City’s immigrants, and the contradiction of inviting one of ICE’s largest tech providers into our city.” That’s how Amy from Queens asked Mayor de Blasio about Amazon’s relationship with ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show last Friday.  

    Mayor de Blasio told Amy, “If it turns out that Amazon has a contractual relationship with

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  • nyc map via city planning

    (image via New York City's City Planning Department)


    This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project
    Find the rest of the series here

    “It might seem early, but given the challenges that are facing the decennial census in 2020, it’s not early enough,” said Steven Romalewski, director of the mapping service at the Center for Urban Research, CUNY Graduate Center. Advocates, government officials, and members of the business community all agree with

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  • access drivers op

    a rally for driver's licenses for all (photo: Make The Road New York)


    For many New Yorkers who cannot access public transportation and need to drive, a routine traffic stop can lead to something much worse than a ticket; it can lead to deportation. That’s why restoring equal access to driver’s licenses for all New Yorkers is not controversial, it is a necessity.

    All over the state, immigrants need to go to work, school, and attend doctor’s appointments, but in places like upstate New York, Long Island, and parts of New York City, a lack of public

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  • cm carlos m franciso m jumaane w protest

    (photo: John McCarten/New York City Council)


    The news that immigrants who legally access public benefits, such as food, housing, and medical assistance, could be denied green cards will make it increasingly difficult for many immigrants across our city and nation to meet their basic needs, placing a sizeable burden on the nonprofit sector.

    Already, the sector is faced with an unyielding demand for support by families and communities as immigrants turn to nonprofits for support in steeper

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  • cojo pablo

    (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    New York City’s leaders have recently been protesting with Muslim and immigrant New Yorkers, but these same leaders are often missing once the cameras are gone. After last week’s stunning Supreme Court setback, the time finally has come for these same leaders to ditch New York City’s anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant police policies.

    We clearly say we’re a sanctuary city, but the facts on the ground are unclear. No, city workers can’t ask about immigration status, but NYPD officers continue to use dragnet surveillance on

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  • dream act presser mtr

    The author at a press conference in Albany for the Dream Act


    On Monday the New York State Assembly passed the New York Dream Act. For immigrant youth like me, this legislation would be a game-changer.

    I am a Dreamer. I came to this country at the age of two from Mexico. I am an American through and through. I have worked hard to get ahead. I’ve excelled in school. Without state tuition assistance, I worked throughout college to be able to pay tuition and other costs. Finally, last year, I graduated from City College. It was harder than it

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  • wethepeople1

    We The People


    When the President recently reportedly referred to El Salvador, Haiti, and African nations as “s***hole countries,” it once again served as a reminder of the rampant prejudice and discrimination experienced by immigrants and ethnic minorities. And as the livelihoods of 800,000 young Dreamers living in our country hangs in the balance, we need to support immigrants now more than ever.

    At Educational Alliance (EA) – the social service provider and network of community centers I lead on the Lower East Side and East Village – we have dedicated much of

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  • nice immigrant protections

    (photo: NICE)


    Just last week, Juan Chonilla and another still unidentified worker died from construction accidents. These men were important members of our immigrant community. As one of the members of New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), one of these men was family. These tragic deaths and severe injuries of multiple construction workers last week, on sites with safety violations, underscore the urgency for New York City to enact legislation that meets the needs of all workers.

    The City Council is currently considering a

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  • de blasio immigrants

    (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    The city is expanding an existing free legal-aid program for immigrants that was set up two years ago but has now gained particular importance under the Trump administration and a Republican-led Congress threatening to impose immigration policies that could affect thousands of New Yorkers.

    The ActionNYC program, run by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, provides free legal screenings to determine if immigrants qualify for city benefits and also aids immigrant New Yorkers in preparing and

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