top of page

CIANA Joins Statewide Fight for Immigrants' Rights at NYIC Member Congress

Nearly 200 staff from New York Immigration Coalition member organizations across New York gathered in Albany for the NYIC’s sixth annual Member Congress on January 9 and 10. Held virtually for the last two years due to COVID-19, this was the first in-person Member Congress since 2020.

Coalition members from Brooklyn to Buffalo had the chance to bond over their organizations’ shared vision of immigrants’ integration, advancement, and success. We also celebrated the NYIC's 35th anniversary and all the victories it has won on behalf of New York's large, diverse immigrant population.

Based on conversations with its members held over the summer, the NYIC identified which pieces of immigration-related legislation in the New York State Senate and Assembly are most pressing for immigrant communities in the new legislative session, which began on January 1.

The two-day convening was centered around pushing these advocacy goals- budget and legislative requests related to health, security, legal representation, and more. Following sessions where we learned about and discussed these priorities, we attended a press conference in the State Capitol to make these demands as clear as possible.

NYIC Executive Director Murad Awawdeh outlined what these priorities are; elected officials such as Assembly Member Catalina Cruz and Senator Brad Hoylman expressed support for these proposals to defend immigrants in their districts; and immigrant community members themselves shared how their lives have been directly impacted by the absence of policies in place to protect them.

The Member Congress concluded with visits to elected officials’ offices where attendees met with Assembly Members and encouraged them to support the proposed policies.

CIANA met with staff from Assembly Members David Weprin of Central-East Queens, including Richmond Hill and Jamaica Hills, and Andrew Hevesi of Rego Park and Forest Hills, as well as with Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani of Astoria.

We shared with our elected officials how the CIANA community is impacted- the inability of our clients, including many new asylum seekers, to afford or even find an attorney who will take their case; the fear many of our clients feel interacting with law enforcement; and the limitations we ourselves experience due to lack of funding for immigrant-serving nonprofits- as reasons to support our proposals.

The legislative process requires a bill to have a certain number of co-sponsorships from lawmakers before it is introduced in order for it to be considered for discussion and ultimately a vote. Our hope is that our state legislators will not only pledge to vote for our proposals, but to co-sponsor them and encourage their colleagues to do the same if not already.

We are fortunate that lawmakers from Queens, particularly Assembly Member Mamdani, recognize the need for our borough’s extraordinarily diverse immigrant populations to be reflected and represented through government funding and meaningful legislation.

Stay posted to learn more about the budget and legislative proposals we advocated for at the Member Congress.


bottom of page