FIRM Spotlight: The New York Immigration Coalition Fights for Resources
Recently, New York legislators have announced massive cuts to the state's budget. These cuts include money that will be taken away from education and slash funding for programs that provide vital resources to immigrants; ESL, adult literacy and citizenship assistance. Yesterday, our partners at the New York Immigration Coalition took to the streets with over 1,000 supporters, calling for more cooperation with immigrant communities to rebuild the state's economy.
"Immigrants account for nearly a quarter of the state's gross economic output, or $229 billion," said Ms. Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, the organizer of today's event. "We also came out in force in the 2008 election, making up a significant segment of new voters revitalizing our democracy. And we're here today because four million immigrant New Yorkers are ready to work with the state to get our economy rolling again, and to let the governor and legislators know that supporting strong and vibrant immigrant communities is part of the solution."
"There are fairer and more productive ways to meet the budget challenges we face than slashing core services," said SJ Jung, president of YKASEC-Empowering the Korean-American Community. "What about raising new revenue, for example, with an income tax surcharge on the wealthiest New Yorkers? Do we ask a few thousand millionaires to give a little more, or do we put that burden solely on the most vulnerable residents of the state?"
"How can you make cuts to programs like ESL that are only meeting 6% of the need to begin with? And doesn't it make sense to use fiscal stimulus money to jump start our economy by investing in immigrant workers? One in five state residents is an immigrant." Participants plan to engage in a discussion with state officials to shape any worker assistance program in the stimulus plan to include immigrant workers.