One of the pillars of CUNY's success for more than 160 years has been the immensely important role that immigrants have played in the life of the university as students, faculty, and staff. The City University of New York was built upon the principle of accessibility to all, particularly to our newest Americans and the underrepresented, and in turn those members of our community have brought drive, energy, and creative thinking that we would not otherwise enjoy.
We have reached out to and supported immigrants – who make up 40 percent of our student body – in numerous ways because of their great contributions to our campuses and the city. And that is why we are particularly pleased to be helping organize and administer the Mayor's new ActionNYC program, which will establish a network of community organizations offering immigration-related information and legal services to some of our most valuable residents.
CUNY's Citizenship Now! program is the largest university-based legal assistance effort in the nation, providing an array of services. We host citizenship swearing-in ceremonies at our campuses. CUNY teaches English as a second language to students as well as their parents. We help hundreds of Dreamers obtain much-needed scholarships to continue their education.
We have also worked closely with the city for years in providing advisory services to immigrants. ActionNYC will expand and deepen that relationship while building on our existing services to immigrants seeking to raise families and strengthen our communities. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and his administration for their leadership in opening these doors to a better future for so many residents. We are proud at CUNY to be your partner.
James B. Milliken