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Immigrants Call for Fair Share of NY Budget

Immigrants makeup 22 percent of New York state's population. (johnpotter/pixabay.com)
Immigrants makeup 22 percent of New York state's population. (johnpotter/pixabay.com)
March 2, 2016

NEW YORK - As legislators debate the state budget in Albany, New York's immigrant community is making its needs known.

Passing the $15 minimum wage, investing in education and increasing adult literacy programs are among the top priorities in a detailed "Budget for Immigrant New York" released Tuesday by Make the Road New York. Daniel Altshuler, the organization's director of research, said that for too long, some critical needs have not been met.

"The state budget offers an opportunity to rectify that," he said, "and ensure that the resources that are needed in immigrant communities are provided."

According to recent statistics, immigrants now make up more than 22 percent of the state's total population and almost a quarter of the registered voters.

Altschuler pointed out that most immigrant children are enrolled in public schools that are owed millions of dollars in state education aid under the terms of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit.

"This report is calling for $2.9 billion in new school aid that should really be focused on high-needs school districts and those where immigrants are more likely to be concentrated," he said.

For adults, courses in English as a second language and workforce-developement programs would help immigrants increase their earning potential.

Altschuler emphasized that by investing in the immigrant community, the state will help secure the future for all New Yorkers.

"Community members and our organization are having continuous conversations with elected officials to be sure the proposals in this report be reflected in the ultimate budget," he said.

The state budget is due by the end of this month and goes into effect July 1.

The Budget for Immigrant New York is online at maketheroad.org.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY