Health & City Services

Supporting Immigrants

A passionate champion of immigration reform, Mike Bloomberg recognized that fixing our broken immigration policies was essential to our country’s future. As Mayor, Mike worked to help immigrant entrepreneurs launch small businesses, and he made City government information available in 170 different languages, via 311.

Partnership for a New American Economy
Formed the Partnership for a New American Economy that represented more than 500 mayors and CEOs from all 50 states.
Confidentiality of immigration status
Ensured confidentiality of immigration status for all people who interact with City government.
311 hotline available in 170 languages
Made the 311 hotline available in 170 languages and launched programs to help immigrant entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Progress: Supporting Immigrants

IMMIGRATION INITIATIVES

Confidentiality Policy: In 2003, Mayor Bloomberg signed Executive Orders 34 and 41 to ensure the confidentiality of the immigration status for all people who interact with City government.

Language Access: In 2008, Mayor Bloomberg signed Executive Order 120 requiring that all City agencies that provide direct public service to New Yorkers provide services in top six languages spoken in New York City (Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Korean, Italian, and French Creole).

Language Access Toolkit: The Bloomberg administration developed multilingual signage and tools to increase awareness of the availability of free language services.

Refugee Micro-enterprise Program: In 2003, the Bloomberg administration created a program to help eligible refugees start and expand small businesses through short-and long- term entrepreneurial training and access to micro-loans up to $15,000.

Latino Small Business Initiative: In 2009, the Bloomberg administration launched an initiative to address the adverse effects of the economic downturn on Hispanic small businesses. The program included a financing fair that connected small businesses to banks and other lending institutions, the establishment of a satellite NYC Business Solutions Center in Washington Heights, and the provision of free Spanish-language legal assistance for businesses in partnership with the Legal Aid Society.

NYCitizenship: In 2011 a program was begun to assist city employees (and their family members) who were eligible to naturalize. In 2012, the program was expanded to assist parents of public school students.

Health of Immigrants Living in NYC: In 2006, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued a report that looked at all the health indicators among immigrants living in NYC and developed targeted programs to respond to health risks, especially for youth. 

Directory of Services: This resource listed more than 250 community–based organizations that offer free or low-cost services to immigrant New Yorkers.

Immigrant Heritage Week: An annual citywide event was created to celebrate the immigrant experience and honor the contributions immigrants have made in New York.

Dual Language Programs in Schools: The Department of Education created more than 82 dual language programs focusing on Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Haitian-Creole, Korean and French to better serve immigrant students.

NYPD’s Immigrant Outreach Unit: The NYPD formally established this unit to build and maintain relationships with community leaders and organizations in new immigrant communities.

Immigrant Civic Engagement: An initiative was created in 2010, One NYC One Nation, to better connect immigrant communities to information and resources about City services.

Blueprints for Immigrant Integration: A series of blueprints were published that highlight successful models and practices for other cities to consider and use in developing their own unique responses to serving newcomers.

UnityNYC Awards: Launched in December 2012, this micro-grant opportunity was launched to highlight how communities thrive when neighbors work together to create a City that respects and celebrates the breadth and beauty of its diversity.

Small Business and Immigrant Entrepreneurs: In 2011, a series of initiatives were launched to help immigrant entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses in NYC by connecting them with multilingual NYC Business Solutions courses and other resources, and launching Competition THRIVE which identified and funded ten organizations doing innovative work with immigrant entrepreneurs.

PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW AMERICAN ECONOMY

Partnership for a New American Economy: In 2010, Mayor Bloomberg formed an organization of 15 mayors and CEOs to push for economic-based immigration reform. In 2013, the Partnership represented more than 500 mayors and CEO’s from all 50 states.

Key Findings of Partnership Research:

  • 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or children of immigrants.

  • Each immigrant with an advanced degree earned in the U.S. working in technical field created 2 new American jobs.

  • Immigrants complement, rather than compete with, American workers because they tend to fill different jobs from native-born workers, at both the high end and low-end of the economy.

  • 76% of patents from America’s top 10 patent-generating universities (Caltech, MIT, Stanford, etc.) in 2011 had foreign-born inventor.

  • In 2011, immigrants started 28% of all new businesses despite being just under 13% of the population.

Regional Events: The Partnership joined with local Chambers of Commerce and Universities to hold panel discussions on the economics of immigrants and events to push for immigration reform.

Polling: The Partnership released more than 30 polls showing broad support for economically-focused immigration reform. 

State Organizing: The Partnership placed field teams in more than 20 states to organize local business, elected, and faith leaders behind immigration reform.

Virtual March on Washington: The Partnership organized and executed the largest ever virtual march on Washington for immigration reform, the March for Innovation (#iMarch).

OpEds and Editorials: The Partnership worked with its member and allies to place more than 50 OpEds in national and local papers across the country.

LEGISLATIVE CHANGES

Senate Passage of “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act”: On June 27, 2013, the Senate passed this comprehensive immigration reform bill, authored by a bipartisan “Gang of 8” Senators and supported by the Partnership.

House Passage of “STEM Jobs Act”: On November 30, 2012, the House passed a bill supported by the Partnership that would provide 55,000 visas to foreign advanced-degree graduates of US universities in science, technology, engineering, and math.

House Passage of “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act”: A bill supported by the Partnership that would reduce the extra waiting currently experienced by highly-skilled employees from India and China was introduced by Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).