MOIA's 2018 Annual Report
In 2017 – during a time when immigrants have been the target of unremitting xenophobic policies and rhetoric by the Trump Administration –New York City proudly stood strong and reaffirmed its steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusion. In the face of a harsh, anti-immigrant climate at the federal level, the City responded by expanding efforts to safeguard and support the rights and well-being of immigrant New Yorkers. To accomplish this, MOIA worked hand-in-hand with City agencies and community partners to develop and fortify protections for immigrant New Yorkers and to ensure that essential City services remain accessible to all. This work is driven by the recognition that an inclusive approach to government is not only a core aspect of New York City's values as a city of immigrants, but is also essential to the public health and safety of all New Yorkers.
This report, available for download here, is issued to the Mayor and the Speaker of the City Council in accordance with Local Law 185 of 2017, which mandates annual reporting on the City's immigrant population and MOIA's activities during the previous calendar year. This is the first such report, covering calendar year 2017.
The report provides a demographic overview of New York City's immigrant population, and describes barriers faced by immigrant New Yorkers, particularly due to increasingly hostile federal immigration policy developments. It outlines MOIA's programs and activities in 2017, as well as the challenges ahead in 2018. Highlights include:
- New York City is home to 3.1 million immigrants, the largest number in the city's history. The majority of immigrant New Yorkers are naturalized U.S. citizens, but the city is also home to a large lawful permanent resident population, as well as an estimated undocumented population of 560,000. Approximately 1 million New Yorkers live in mixed-status households, where a household member is undocumented.
- Foreign-born New Yorkers contribute significantly to the City's economic health and vitality. Immigrants own 52% of New York City's businesses, and in 2017, immigrants contributed an estimated $195 billion to the City's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or about 22% of the City's total GDP. Immigrant New Yorkers are employed across a range of industries, with a quarter of all foreign-born workers in the education, health, and human services fields.
- In light of New York's tremendous linguistic diversity, the City is committed to providing its residents with a multilingual government. MOIA and the Mayor's Office of Operations continue to work with City agencies to support implementation of Local Law 30 of 2017 on language access, by creating guidance materials, providing one-on-one technical assistance to agencies, sharing best practices, and convening agency language access coordinators. Like its sister agencies, MOIA utilizes interpretation and document translation services to ensure essential information is accessible to the Office's multilingual audiences. In 2017, MOIA's Language Services provided 433 onsite interpreters at 153 MOIA and Mayoral events, and coordinated the translation of 76 MOIA documents, including outreach material.
- By creating pathways for civic engagement, New York is deepening the connections between immigrant communities and city government. In mid-2017, MOIA worked with Cuban-born artist Tania Bruguera, the mostly Spanish-speaking mothers and neighborhood activists of Mujeres en Movimiento, and the artists of Kollecktiv Migrantas to develop and distribute picture-based materials about critical MOIA services to nearly 7,000 people in immigrant communities in Queens.
- Under the leadership of the Mayor and City Council, New York has made historic commitments promoting access to justice, including for immigrant New Yorkers whose needs are more acute than ever in a time of increased immigration enforcement and shifting federal policies. ActionNYC, the City's community-based immigration legal services program, provided 8,004 comprehensive legal screenings in 2017, and had a 97% approval rate for cases adjudicated in 2017.
- Smart policies that protect and support immigrants promote the safety and well-being of all New Yorkers. MOIA's collaborations with the Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence (ODCV), Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ), and several NYC law enforcement agencies have led to improvements in access to immigration relief via U and T visas for immigrant crime victims. In 2017, 709 law enforcement certifications were issued by City agencies to crime victims applying for these visas.
- New York City has responded forcefully to federal-level developments that negatively impact immigrant New Yorkers. At the local level, MOIA led efforts to coordinate rapid-response initiatives, inform immigrant New Yorkers about their rights and available City resources, and expand immigration legal services. In addition, MOIA worked closely with the City Council, City agencies, and other stakeholders to develop new local laws that protect the rights of immigrants and other vulnerable groups.
- Cities for Action (C4A), the bipartisan coalition of U.S. cities and local governments created by Mayor de Blasio, actively engaged in collective advocacy to support the interests of municipalities that are home to immigrants. In 2017, C4A issued multi-city sign-on letters calling attention to the harms done to cities by Trump Administration policies such as the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and dozens of C4A member cities signed on to amicus briefs in cases challenging the Trump Administration's anti-immigrant actions.
As is clear from the initiatives and efforts described in this report, the de Blasio Administration remains deeply rooted in its commitment to the diverse immigrant communities that bolster the growth, vibrancy, and strength of New York City. With pride in the important work accomplished in 2017, MOIA looks forward to continuing to engage with partners across government and in the community to fulfill this commitment in 2018 and the years ahead.
Download the full report
*As part of our long-standing effort to make government accessible to the immigrant communities we serve, this report will be translated into an additional ten languages in the coming weeks. Please check this page for updates