Investing in Essential Services for Immigrant Households Through the FY25 City Budget

Testimony & Public Comments

March 5, 2024

On Tuesday, March 5, Policy and Advocacy Associate Juan Diaz submitted testimony to the New York City Council Oversight Hearing on The Preliminary Budget Hearing – Immigration. On behalf of CCC, the testimony responds to the FY25 Preliminary Budget and services provided to immigrants and asylum-seeking families. The testimony highlights current payment delays to direct service providers, staffing issues, and policies that actively prevent immigrant families from accessing benefits and recommends actions the City Council can take to address these issues through the FY25 budget.

Read the testimony below.


Testimony of Juan Diaz Policy and Advocacy Associate
Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York
Submitted to the New York City Council Oversight Hearing on The Preliminary Budget Hearing – Immigration
New York City March 5th, 2024

Since 1944, Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York has served as an independent, multi-issue child advocacy organization. CCC does not accept or receive public resources, provide direct services, or represent a sector or workforce; our priority is improving outcomes for children and families through civic engagement, research, and advocacy. We document the facts, engage, and mobilize New Yorkers, and advocate for solutions to ensure that every New York child is healthy, housed, educated, and safe.

We would like to thank Chair Aviles and all the members of the City Council Committee on Immigration for holding today’s important hearing on the response to the Mayor’s FY25 Preliminary Budget, the services provided to New York City’s immigrant community and recently arrived asylum-seeking families with children.

New York City’s immigrant population is an important and valued part of our city. Unfortunately, cuts proposed in the FY25 Preliminary Budget threaten essential services for immigrant communities.

Although we are pleased that the Mayor has reversed budget cuts to several programs citywide, we are still seeing the harm caused by severe payment delays to direct service providers, inadequate city agency staffing, and city policies that actively prevent immigrant families from accessing essential public benefits.

We share the following recommendations with the City Council and the City Administration to support immigrant households in the FY25 Budget:

  • We applaud the launch of the $5 million Asylum Seeker Legal Assistance Network (ASLAN), which aims to expand community capacity to provide legal assistance for newly arrived asylum seekers. However, additional funding should be allocated to legal assistance for new migrants, and the city should expedite work permits so that asylum-seeking families with children can become self-sufficient.
  • We urge you to protect the right to shelter by reversing the 60-day shelter stay limit for families with Migrant families are being forced to exit temporary shelter after a limited time and oftentimes sleep on the streets. Community-based organizations have reported that many migrant children are missing school due to the 60-day shelter stay rule.
  • We urge you to fund and effectively implement CityFHEPS expansion, which would remove administrative and eligibility barriers and expedite access to housing support for families in the community and in shelters. This will in turn open shelter space for families with children, including asylum seekers.
  • To enable more mixed-status families to transition to permanent housing, we urge you to continue to improve public benefit access and retention, addressing HRA staffing shortages, removing red tape, and implementing technology solutions to ensure CityFHEPS payments and renewals, cash aid, and SNAP are not disrupted.
  • We urge you to baseline $3.3 million to support the continuation of Community Coordinators at citywide shelters. These positions are essential for migrant students as they need the support of advocates to coordinate their needs with shelter and public-school officials.
  • We urge you to restore $170 Million in early education funding and to baseline $20 million for Promise NYC to continue expanding access to undocumented families as access to Head Start, 3K and PreK, and Promise NYC is not restricted.
  • We urge you to preventing cuts to public schools and afterschool programming that will result from the expiration of federal COVID-19 stimulus funding, including multi-faceted immigrant family communication and outreach, bilingual staff, and translation and interpretation services. Any cuts to the education and afterschool system will undermine opportunities for connection and support for immigrant students.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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