The City’s Policy Toward Immigrants

DOWNLOAD PDF READ IN FULL SCREEN By Jackie Vimo and Chung-Wha Hong

A big part of what makes New York City so vibrant is the millions of immigrants who come from all corners of the world.  Immigrants live and thrive in New York and show how diversity makes us stronger, as a city and as a nation. Many immigrants face familiar obstacles: lack of immigration status and constant fear of deportation and family separation resulting from it; inadequate English skills and low literacy rates in native languages; racial/ethnic/religious profiling and discrimination; barriers to identity documents; unfamiliarity with various and complex institutions like the education, health, criminal justice or financial systems that define everyday life; and deep cultural differences – all of which can result in poverty and/or social marginalization from society. 

Many of these barriers can be addressed through a combination of equitable and innovative policies, practices and programs that are products of deep and long-term partnership between government and the diverse immigrant communities. These policies, practices and programs that need to take place fall into three categories: rights, access and the opportunity for full civic participation. We can and should do much better to ensure equal access, rights and opportunities for immigrants so that they can fully participate in our economy and in our city’s civic and cultural life.