MOIA's 2019 Annual Report
The New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) promotes the well-being and full inclusion of immigrant New Yorkers in the City’s civic, economic, and cultural life. Through initiatives and collaborative partnerships with City agencies, elected officials, sister cities, community-based organizations (CBOs), and advocates, MOIA leads and supports a range of programs and policies that empower immigrant communities. As experts on immigration policy, community engagement, and social justice, MOIA strives to mitigate the hardships of immigrant New Yorkers by advancing economic justice and access to due process, legal, language, and health services while advocating for immigration reform at all levels of government.
This report reviews MOIA’s work in 2019 that demonstrates New York City’s leadership in fighting the Trump Administration’s federal immigration policies that directly attack immigrants. Under the leadership of Mayor Bill de Blasio, and with the City Council’s coordination and support, MOIA’s work has helped ensure the City’s unwavering commitment to protecting, serving, and safeguarding the rights of all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status.
To assess the state of our immigrant city, this report provides a demographic overview of our immigrant population, describes barriers faced by these communities, and outlines the programs and activities that MOIA conducted to help address these challenges.
Highlights of MOIA’s 2019 Annual Report include:
- Looking back at the last decade. From 2008 to 2018, New York City’s immigrant and overall population experienced steady growth through 2017, while the undocumented population declined both citywide and nationwide.
- Mobilizing rapid response efforts. MOIA led the City in quickly responding to anti-immigrant federal policy changes in 2019. In coordination with City agencies, State offices, elected officials, and community partners, MOIA mobilized critical support—including legal assistance and legal challenges to proposed policy—to address community concerns and immediate needs in the wake of changes to the public charge rule and other federal developments including threats of escalated immigration enforcement.
- Institutionalizing immigration legal services. With ever-increasing demand for free immigration legal services, MOIA, with the Department of Social Services (DSS)/ Human Resources Administration (HRA), initiated the process of embedding the free, community-based immigration legal services program, ActionNYC, into the fabric of the City by inviting organizations to apply for three-year contracts to provide legal and navigation services in CBOs, schools, hospitals, and libraries. In 2019, ActionNYC also continued its focus on remaining responsive to federal developments to support immigrant access to justice and building capacity in the field.
- Increasing knowledge of worker’s rights. As part of MOIA’s work to advance economic justice, MOIA and CBO partners engaged with immigrant workers to provide information about workers’ rights in the workplace and when interacting with federal immigration agents, as well as how to avoid immigration scams and access free worker and immigration legal services. MOIA’s We Speak NYC program won its third Emmy Award for Rolando’s Rights, an episode providing vital information about enforcing workers’ rights.
- Advancing health care access for all. MOIA partnered with NYC Health + Hospitals (H+H) to lead a group of trusted CBOs in community outreach to promote the new NYC Care health care access program for New Yorkers who do not qualify for or cannot afford health insurance. By the end of 2019, the CBOs reached more than 22,000 unique community members and the program enrolled approximately 10,000 New Yorkers in the Bronx.
- Expanding access to IDNYC. IDNYC, the City’s free municipal ID program, added a third gender “X” designation to allow transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming New Yorkers to affirmatively select their gender identity on their IDNYC card; created a special middle school ID card in partnership with the NYC Department of Education (DOE); and launched its first renewal campaign with an online platform to make it easier for cardholders who enrolled in 2015 to renew their cards in 2020.
- Supporting the City’s commitment to community and ethnic media. Mayor de Blasio signed an executive order requiring all city agencies to spend at least 50 percent of their annual print and digital publication advertising in community and ethnic media. MOIA played a lead role in the City’s investment in these critical sources of information to immigrant New Yorkers.
- Coordinating multi-city advocacy. MOIA and Cities for Action (C4A) worked with partners across the nation to push back against the Trump Administration’s attempts to threaten Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, and access to justice for asylum seekers, while dramatically increasing immigration application fees and eliminating existing fee waivers.
In 2020, MOIA will continue to build on this work to serve, protect, and empower all New Yorkers, while helping to ensure our city is inclusive, equitable, and just for all.
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