New York arguably boasts the most diverse population of any major city in the world. Since the passage of the landmark Immigration and Nationality Amendments of 1965, New York's foreign-born population has more than doubled and the foreign-born share of the City's population, which was 18 percent in 1970, has risen to 37 percent. Now, New York City is home to more than 3 million immigrants from all over the world – and counting.
Ensuring that New York City's immigrant communities have access to every opportunity to succeed is one of Mayor de Blasio's priorities. In turn, the Mayor's Fund is supporting a number of programs that aim to empower individual immigrant New Yorkers and strengthen their respective communities.
That's why the Mayor's Fund and the Open Society Foundation are helping to fund Cities United for Immigrant Action, a coalition of nearly 100 mayors and county leaders across the country that is led by the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) and is committed to defending the President's executive action on immigration and advocating for longer term immigrations reforms.
It's also why the Mayor's Fund is working with MOIA to develop NYCitizenship, a public-private partnership that is providing comprehensive information on the naturalization process and access to legal services and financial counseling in our City's public schools and libraries. By combining a myriad of services into a single program and launching it in safe, familiar settings, NYCitizenship is leveraging a previously untapped opportunity to address common barriers to citizenship.
Along with creating opportunities for immigrant New Yorkers, the Mayor's Fund is also working with city agencies to ensure equity in our City's current services. By supporting the new "Direct Access" health initiative with the Robin Hood Foundation, the Mayor's Fund aims to help our City to improve health care access for our immigrant population, making New York City one of the first major U.S. municipalities to expand health care access after the enactment of the Affordable Care Act. The program will coordinate affordable, reliable and timely access to affordable care for immigrants who are excluded from federal and state support, meeting the vital needs of some of our most underserved residents – and in doing so, setting the stage for a more inclusive health care system.