In the midst of a debate over immigration with his fellow candidates, mayoral front runner Eric Adams today introduced his WeRISE (Raise Immigrant Safety and Empowerment) plan to protect and empower immigrants in New York City.
Adams’ plan leverages existing city programs and institutions. This includes the use of the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) funding to create a $50 million annual Immigrant Venture Fund for first or second-generation immigrant businesses as a continuation of the city’s sanctuary city status for undocumented immigrants.
The plan also expands funding of legal services against discrimination, and additional funding for NYC Care – the city’s affordable health market – to market to immigrant communities.
“The intimidating complexity of our City bureaucracy is compounded by the challenges that immigrants with limited English proficiency face in navigating everything from education to housing to healthcare,” said Adams.
A 2015-19 estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau showed that 36.8 percent of this city’s residents — more than one out of every three — is foreign-born, living across the five boroughs. This city speaks more than 150 different languages. According to a 2018 report from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), 52 percent of our businesses are immigrant-owned.
“In addition to building on our existing efforts to increase civic engagement to new levels and foster the leadership of voices from every community, we will ensure that together WeRISE,” he added.
Adams said the plan would include leveraging the city’s position as an employer to reward businesses that hire local workers, as well as minority owners and workers. He also wants to enhance the IDNYC program to provide direct services through a single city portal.
Additionally, the plan calls for instituting a program to ensure NYC public school educators are “culturally responsive” to their students.
New programs include hiring a Chief Diversity Officer to track and monitor equity and diversity among city contracts, as well as opening a new Mayor’s Office of Community and Ethnic Media to ensure content for ethnic groups of all backgrounds.
Adams’ plan comes amidst similar proposals from his opponents in the mayoral contest. Dianne Morales’ website also speaks to protecting immigrants from deportation while providing city services regardless of status, and Ray Donovan said he wants to create a School Diversity and Integration office that appears similar to Adams’ proposal to create “culturally responsive” educators.
An Adams spokesperson said that Adams’ comprehensive approach to problems facing immigrants complements his work as a police officer and as a state senator, and distinguishes him from his rivals.