While nation-wide immigration reform remains stagnant, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio continues to build upon his record of providing greater resources to the city’s 3.1 million immigrants. The city is spending $30 million a year on immigrants services, a 114 percent increase from 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
The city has also partnered with groups like We Are New York that offers free English language classes, and Make the Road New York, a non-profit organization in Brooklyn that informs Latino immigrants about their civil rights and their legal access to health care, public education and policy innovations.
In 2014, the city spent $14 million a year on immigrant services. With the launch of ActionNYC in 2015, De Blasio committed $7.9 million to helping undocumented immigrants find free assistance for acquiring work permits and citizenship. Also that year, De Blasio created the municipal ID program IDNYC, which allows New Yorkers to receive city benefits in spite of whatever immigration status they may have.
While critics of the mayor say the city should not be using tax payer money to fund these programs, Nisha Agarwal, commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, said providing these services would benefit the city as a whole. She said 900,000 people had signed up for the IDNYC program.
"The reality is the city as a whole is serving immigrant families every day,” she told local reporters. “It is very important for New Yorkers to feel very connected to their city government to know the city is providing arraignments through different services and that we are open and accessible to immigrants.”
In 2014, President Barack Obama announced an executive order to reprieve several millions immigrants who are the parents of U.S. citizens or green card holders. But the motion was blocked by Texas and other conservative learning states in federal court, where it remains on hold as the short-handed Supreme Court was unable to reach a decision this year.
There were 11.1 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., according to a 2014 Pew Research Center study.