New NYS Immigrant Office to Focus on Businesses

Jorge Montalvo, director of the recently unveiled New York State Office for New Americans (ONA), speaks with Garry Pierre-Pierre of CUNY’s “Independent Sources” about the vision and work of the new agency that will not only help city immigrants but the 1.2 million foreign-born people who live outside the five boroughs.

“We just opened up this new state agency of government,” Montalvo says in the interview. Gov. Andrew Cuomo “is committed to helping immigrants fully participate in New York’s civic and economic life and thought it was important that for the first time in the state’s history we have a single agency focused on this work.”

ONA will operate out of 27 “opportunity centers” throughout the state that will help immigrants learn English, including an effort to get newcomers from farming backgrounds to open farms, Montalvo said.

Immigrant communities are growing across the state, he said, driving growth in places like Utica where Somali refugees have settled and in Buffalo and Syracuse where Bhutanese are finding a home.

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