MOIA Reports on the ‘State of our Immigrant City’

The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs issued its second annual report on Tuesday, with data and analysis of the city’s immigrant population and a recap of the many activities undertaken by MOIA in support of the city’s 3.2 million immigrants. In her written statement in the report, MOIA Commissioner Bitta Mostofi said that MOIA and city agencies had worked hard last year to make NYC “a truly inclusive and welcoming city.” But she added that “while we have seen a tremendous commitment to realizing this vision, for too many in our communities, 2018 was a year of continued anxiety, frustration, and fear.”

The Trump administration’s anti-immigrant measures, such as the zero-tolerance policy which separated families and the proposed public charge proposal that could potentially deprive many immigrants and children in mixed-status families of benefits, provoked a swift and concerted response from MOIA. Mostofi noted that in response to the family separation crisis, the de Blasio administration made a historic $4.1 million allocation of immigration legal services funding for children and their families in NYC, while MOIA led a “multi-pronged” response to the public charge rule change, informing communities and key stakeholders and coordinating responses with other cities.

MOIA also continued to ramp up the bread-and-butter work of reaching out to communities across the five boroughs: In 2018, MOIA conducted 681 “know your rights” forums. Through its outreach, MOIA engaged 18,000 individuals – nearly a 40 percent increase from the previous year. The agency also expanded investments in immigration legal services, extending funds for removal defense, support for separated families and unaccompanied children, and more immigrant legal services in Chinese, Korean, and South Asian communities.

The report notes that 37.1 percent of the city’s residents are foreign-born, while 44 percent of the workforce is foreign-born. Of the total immigrant population, about 56.2 percent are naturalized citizens, while green card holders and those with other status such as DACA ,TPS and pending asylum cases, account for about 28 percent of all immigrants.

Data: “State of Our Immigrant City. MOIA Annual Report for Calendar 2018”

The remainder, the undocumented, number about 477,000 – well down from the estimated 672,000 of a decade ago. The decline in the number of undocumented mirrors nationwide declines, the report notes.

Immigrant status has a big impact on certain indicators of well-being in the city. For instance, while nearly 92.7 parent of U.S.-born New Yorkers have health insurance, only 78.0 percent of foreign-born residents have health insurance, and for the undocumented residents of the city, the disparity is still greater: only 52.9 percent have health insurance. Meanwhile, immigrants live in more crowded households, and undocumented immigrants are still more likely to live in crowded households.

And while the housing affordability crisis in NYC means that about one-half of all city residents, both U.S.-born and foreign-born, are considered rent-burdened – that is, more than 30 percent of their income goes toward housing – there are great disparities in income between U.S.-born and foreign-born, with the lowest median income for the undocumented ($26,291) and the next lowest for reported for green card and other status holders ($28,617). U.S.-born New Yorkers had a median income of $48,942, and naturalized New Yorkers a median income of $40,448.

For more data on the city’s immigrant population, and more on MOIA’s activities, including its IDNYC and We Speak NYC programs, as well as its advocacy, anti-fraud and other initiatives, read the MOIA report.

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