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Programs that aid immigrants to NYC in becoming financially independent are in danger

By 06/20/2023 9:10 AMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

Critical education and childcare initiatives that assist recent arrivals in becoming less dependent on city resources are in danger of being cut as New York City battles to integrate a flood of migrants.

According to new research issued on Tuesday by Advocates for Children of New York, a half-dozen high school programs that provide rigorous English instruction are not anticipated to have the resources they require to assist teenage immigrants in learning the new language.

And by the end of the month, hundreds of undocumented immigrants may no longer be able to take advantage of subsidized child care due to the expiration of a program that was accessible to all parents, regardless of their immigration status, and gave them time to work, find accommodation, and submit an asylum application.

At a meeting last week on the program, known as Promise NYC, Councilwoman Shahana Hanif (D-Brooklyn) stated, “It is befuddling that they are threatening to cut the resource that allows our newest New Yorkers, especially those who are women, to go to work.”

Asylum seekers will become more self-sufficient and less dependent on expensive city-funded shelter beds thanks to this program, according to Hanif, who also serves as the chair of the Council’s immigration committee and progressive caucus.

Many families who just recently arrived in New York have had difficulty obtaining the city resources and legal assistance they need to exit the city’s care, such as applying for work permits and asylum.

There are now about 18,000 additional students living in temporary housing.

New York City launched new programs at six already-existing alternative high schools in the outer boroughs, where many migrants reside, last fall as more young people who could not speak English moved to the city.

However, according to the advocates, the program only gave each principal $50,000, which was less than what it would have cost to hire one staff member who speaks Spanish. For these programs to be strengthened, an additional $3 million is required.

Director of the Immigrant Students’ Rights Project at Advocates for Children Rita Rodriguez-Engberg stated, “It’s just such a small amount of money that it’s hard to imagine that it can go anywhere at all.” “That amount won’t cover a full salary, so you can’t hire a single teacher or social worker.”

The Department of Education claims that all high schools are equipped to teach them and that any student who requires services to assist them in learning English will receive them.

Advocates and local officials warn that hundreds of undocumented migrants face the threat of losing access to subsidized child care in the coming weeks, which could further hinder their financial support.

According to new data presented at the Council meeting, Promise NYC, launched earlier this year, has 664 young children enrolled, up from 172 youngsters in March. The city covers childcare costs up to $700 per week.

Since January, the city has set aside $10 million for the initiative, which will run out if it is not renewed by the end of June. Some council members argued that the funds should not only be repeated in the budget for the following year but also quadrupled to cover the entire year.

The initiative was not guaranteed to be continued for another year by the Adams administration.

“We… According to Elizabeth Wolkomir, deputy commissioner of child and family well-being at the Administration for Children’s Services, “We hope that our collaborative advocacy can bring change at the federal level so that we do not need to rely alone on city funds for childcare assistance for this population and could more adequately support the families that need it.”

Funding for school outreach efforts to immigrant families through channels like text messages, ethnic media, and print advertisements in establishments like bodegas and nail salons is also at risk.

To facilitate enrolment, education officials noted that every school has a designated language access coordinator and that they have increased the availability of interpretation services at shelters and emergency centers.

Education spokesperson Nicole Brownstein said in a statement that “every student deserves access to high-quality schools that meet their unique needs, regardless of their immigration status or language spoken at home.” We will keep working with students, families, and partners to ensure that newly arrived children have access to what they need in our public schools.


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