New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs Nisha Agarwal announced that the city will offer support to unaccompanied minors who are currently undergoing deportation proceedings. According to a statement released by the City of New York, there are representatives available at the federal immigration court to address the needs of children who require assistance, especially those who have recently arrived in the city. New York is one of the busiest cities in the country when it comes to immigration hearings. It’s where many unaccompanied children who are apprehended by border patrol officers are sent because they have family living there.
There are representatives from the Department of Education available to help the children and their guardians enroll the minors in school and provide information about programs available for English Language Learners, the statement said. The city is also placing representatives from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene outside of the federal immigration court so the minors can enroll in Child Health Plus, a state-funded public health insurance program. The health representatives will also help the children find other programs that they may be eligible for. The Health and Hospital Corporation will also be there to treat children who have been referred for medical and mental health needs.
“Connecting these vulnerable children to educational, health and social services is vital to helping our families and communities gain stability,” Mayor de Blasio said. “These children have come here because they have families or sponsors in New York City, and it is our responsibility to assist them. States and municipalities must do all they can to help their immigrant communities – and we hope New York City’s response helps model a more humanitarian approach at these dockets to provide these children with stability and safety.”
All children in New York City have access to the following government services regardless of their immigration status:
- School enrollment
- After-school programs
- Public health insurance through Children’s Medicaid or Child Health Plus, unless household income exceeds certain limits
- Free or low-cost primary and specialist health care services through the City’s HHC Options program, unless household income exceeds certain limits
- Child and family welfare services through NYC Administration for Children’s Services
- Homelessness prevention services through NYC Department of Homeless Services
- Literacy programs through NYC Department of Youth and Community Development