NYC Mayor Bloomberg Announces New Immigration Efforts
In a recent speech at CUNY Graduate Center, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city “needs more immigrants.” As part of his plan for a possible third term should he be reelected on November 3, 2009, Mayor Bloomberg has called immigrants the “lifeblood of New York City” and expressed his support for comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship and for the DREAM Act, “which would allow children of undocumented immigrants to become citizens in exchange for attending college or performing military service.” Mr. Bloomberg also plans to create an Immigrant Advisory Board “with members of the religious, labor, business, cultural, and community-based networks to meet quarterly.”
Mr. Bloomberg noted that in June 2009, the city’s Department of Small Businesses Services (SBS) unveiled an initiative to help Latino small business owners that included a financing fair, a full-day seminar on business assistance and government resources, information resources in Spanish and English, the launch of an online directory on the National Hispanic Business Information Clearinghouse Web site, and the opening of a new NYC Business Solutions satellite office in Washington Heights. “This targeted strategy to assist Hispanic small businesses will be replicated for other immigrant small business communities,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “SBS will be charged with developing and executing community-specific strategies for the largest immigrant small business communities in New York City over the third term.”
Among other things, Mr. Bloomberg also said that New York City will partner with private law firms to dispatch deferred legal associates to immigrant communities in need of quality legal assistance and representation. The associates will be deployed for a minimum one-year fellowship. The city will commit $2 million to the effort to cover a team of supervising attorneys and ongoing training of associates and technical assistance in the area of immigration law. The city also will work with local law schools to engage alumni into a “Call to Service for the Legal Community” to provide pro bono legal assistance to immigrants.