June 20, 2016

New York State Office for New Americans Celebrates Immigrant Heritage Month

New York State Office for New Americans Celebrates Immigrant Heritage Month
Cultural Events, Naturalization Clinics, Know-Your-Rights Forums and Hackathon Taking Place throughout the State to Welcome Immigrants

New York State Office for New American (ONA) today announced a series of events to commemorate June as Immigrant Heritage Month. To celebrate the new Americans’ contributions to the State civic and economic life, ONA is partnering with community-based organizations across the state to host events engaging immigrants and receiving communities demonstrating our state’s commitment to welcoming immigrants into the family of New York. More than 26 events are taking place or have occurred across the State and they include pop-up art exhibits, naturalization clinics, know-your-rights forums and a hackathon. A social media partnership with Welcome.us and FWD.us will accompany the celebration.

“New York has always been a beacon of hope for immigrants and celebrating Immigrant Heritage Month is a way of honoring our ancestors, and encouraging our future generations as they continue to make the State stronger,” said New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. “Let’s join the New York State Office for New Americans and help with its efforts to celebrate immigrant heritage across New York.”

Since its launch in 2014, Immigrant Heritage Month has evolved into a powerful, impactful celebration of millions of individuals’ heritage as immigrants. In a national address last year, President Obama officially declared June as Immigrant Heritage Month, citing that the idea of welcoming people to our shores is central to our ancestry and our way of life. Additional information about the events scheduled to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month in New York can be found on the ONA website at www.dos.ny.gov/office-new-americans. A social media campaign featuring celebrities and other notables will accompany the events to highlight Americans support for immigrants. Find these messages on ONA’s social media feeds @NYSNewAmericans.

Click on this link to view all the events: www.dos.ny.gov/office-new-americans).

Economic data indicates that immigrants account for a large and growing share of the economy in New York State. According to Fiscal Policy Institute, more than one in four New Yorkers of working age are foreign born. The same study indicates that New York’s immigrants are responsible for $229 billion in economic output. The American Immigration Council reports that there were 261,140 new immigrant business owners in New York, and they had total net business income of $12.6 billion, which makes up 10.4% of all net business income in the state.

Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition said, "The NYIC is proud to work with the New York State Office for New Americans, an office that strives to create a welcoming and supportive environment for New York's immigrant communities throughout the year. ONA doubles its efforts this Immigrant Heritage Month with an excellent series of events in partnership with community based organizations. We commend their efforts to truly make New York State as inclusive and welcoming as possible for immigrants and New Americans."

Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation said, “The Asian community is the fastest-growing population in New York City. Governor Cuomo has recognized the importance of helping immigrants in our community integrate into civic and economic life, particularly in his creation of the Office for New Americans, which leads the State’s efforts in celebrating Immigrant Heritage Month throughout the month of June. ONA’s commitment to spotlighting community education exhibits and forums to both celebrate and support immigrants sends an important message of inclusion to Asian immigrants.”

Dr. Anna Ireland, Chief Program Officer of Jericho Road Community Health Center in Buffalo, NY said, “Jericho Road is proud to stand behind the immigrants and refugees that make the community of Buffalo a strong, vibrant, and diverse community. As the Office for New Americans’ new Opportunity Center, we are so pleased to provide assistance with entrepreneurship and citizenship. We believe that immigrants and refugees have helped to bring new life to our community, helping to fuel the resurgence in Buffalo’s economy.”

This latest effort is part of Governor Cuomo’s efforts to help immigrants fully participate in the State’s civic and economic life. The Governor issued Executive Order 26 requiring State agencies that provide direct public services to offer free interpretation and translation services to members of the public for vital forms and instructions. To help expand small business opportunities, Governor Cuomo has expanded the State's minority and women-owned business enterprise contracting goal to 30 percent, the highest in the country. The State also launched a comprehensive initiative to protect new comers from immigration-related fraud, which included signing legislation making it a felony to commit immigrant assistance services fraud.

Most recently, Governor Cuomo launched the Workers Exploitation Taskforce and the Nail Salon Taskforce to ensure that workers are being treated fairly and for businesses owners to better understand their rights and responsibilities. Governor Cuomo continues to support passing the New York State DREAM Act for the advancement of undocumented immigrants that enables them to apply for state college tuition assistance. He also announced a new effort to establish official protocols and begin receiving and processing U Visa certifications for claimants, victims, and witnesses and for the Office of Children and Family Services.

Governor Cuomo established ONA in 2013 to assist newcomers in the State who are eager to contribute to our economy and become part of the family of New York. The Governor made history by making ONA the first State-level immigrant office created by statute in the country.