BROOKLYN, (KINGS COUNTY POLITICS NEWS SERVICE) – City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, chair of the Immigration Committee, yesterday held the Council’s first-ever budget hearing of all City budget activity involving immigrant services, with relevant agencies, service providers, and community-based organizations all present in one room.
Among the agencies presenting testimony included the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Human Resources Administration, the Department of Youth and Community Development, and City University of New York. This hearing’s aim was to present the successes of immigrant programs in the City, while also highlighting the needs that have gone unaddressed over a period of years.
In the past, budgetary discussions about City immigrant services occurred among several large agencies and within a few different Council committees, leading to conversations that were fragmented, marginal, and limited. This historic decision to grant the Committee its own budget hearing will foster a more cohesive conversation about immigrant services and needs and, most importantly, will help develop better budgetary oversight of vital immigrant resources.
Immigrants make up 37 percent of the City population, with the largest numbers coming from Latin America and Asia.
“This hearing is only the beginning of what I consider to be a real effort to integrate immigrants in all aspects of our City, including the process of creating a budget that carefully and intentionally addresses the very real needs of immigrants in our community,” said Menchaca. I am proud of all the work that has gone into making this hearing a reality and, in contrast to the anti-immigrant rhetoric that we are witnessing at the national level, I look at this as a stepping stone towards creating a New York City that is more welcoming of immigrants than ever before.”