Message from the Commissioner

Commissioner's Biography

Commissioner Nisha Agarwal
Commissioner Nisha Agarwal

Commissioner Nisha Agarwal, Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs

Nisha Agarwal is an accomplished public interest lawyer and a leading voice in immigration reform at the local and national level. Her tenure as the Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs is marked by her entrepreneurial drive and proven record of enacting pro-immigrant legislation.

Commissioner Agarwal led the development and implementation of IDNYC, the country's largest municipal identification program, ensuring that all New Yorkers can have the peace of mind and security that comes from recognized identification.

Commissioner Agarwal was also an instrumental force in the creation of ActionNYC. Launched in 2016, ActionNYC provides free, safe immigration legal help to every immigrant New Yorker in their community and in their language. Under Commissioner Agarwal’s leadership, MOIA launched ActionHealthNYC, an affordable health care program for uninsured immigrants who have a low income but do not qualify for low-cost or no-cost health insurance.

Prior to her MOIA appointment, she worked with Judge Robert A. Katzmann, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, to establish the Immigrant Justice Corps, a new nonprofit that recruits recent law school graduates and partners with non-profit legal services providers to offer free legal representation to immigrants. She was previously Deputy Director of the Center for Popular Democracy, the groundbreaking nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to advancing pro-immigrant, pro-equality, and pro-justice policies at the grassroots and national levels, which she co-founded in 2012. Prior to CPD, she served as Director of the Health Justice Program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.

Honored by numerous recognitions, including Crain’s New York Business’ 40 Under 40, Commissioner Agarwal received her B.A. summa cum laude from Harvard College and her J.D. from Harvard Law School and was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University. She currently lives in Brooklyn.