“In a year when immigrant communities and working-class communities of color are under attack by the Trump administration and a hostile Congress, it is more critical than ever that New York stand as a beacon for the rights and needs of these communities,” the organization said in a statement.
The group is calling for an expansion of the state’s Tuition Assistance Program to include immigrants brought here illegally by their parents when they were young, and for the Department of Education to expand its adult literacy and education program funding to $17.2 million.
“Adult education is highly important for immigrants because it allows them to excel in different areas of their lives,” said Pedro Martinez, who attends an adult literacy class at Make the Road New York’s Bushwick office.
The group is also calling for a reduction in unnecessary arrests through an easing of “broken windows” and “zero tolerance” policing.
“We cannot leave the hyper-aggressive and abusive policing that these very communities face out of the conversation,” said Darien Agostini of Make the Road NY. “Too many New Yorkers’ efforts to build a better life with their families are derailed by arrests for offenses so minor that New York State doesn’t even consider them to be crimes.”
Advocates also support passage of the NY Liberty Act, which limits information sharing and cooperation between state law enforcement and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which can lead to deportation.
“These policies particularly endanger immigrants for whom law enforcement interaction can lead to deportation,” Agostini said.
Other issues the group wants the state to address include passing a law allowing all New Yorkers regardless of immigration status to obtain a driver’s license, and the expansion of the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, which ensures families are not torn apart because they cannot afford legal counsel.