September 1, 2016

De Blasio Administration Launches Education Initiative for DACA-Eligible Immigrants

New program will help immigrants complete educational requirement needed for DACA eligibility; DACA can transform lives by providing temporary protection from deportation, as well as access to work authorization



NEW YORK—The de Blasio Administration and the City University of New York recently announced the launch of the ActionNYC DACA Education Initiative. The program will provide classes through nine community-based education providers to assist immigrant New Yorkers in fulfilling DACA’s educational requirement. DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – a federal program that offers temporary protection from deportation and access to work authorization, among other benefits – will increase opportunities for social and economic mobility for immigrants across New York City.
“New York City is home to nearly half a million undocumented immigrants. They are our neighbors, colleagues, friends, and family. We launched a major effort to help these New Yorkers come out of the shadows with ActionNYC, and now we’re going a step further. Our new education initiative will provide immigrants with an invaluable opportunity to obtain the sense of security needed to transform their lives,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Despite the success of DACA, thousands of potentially eligible New Yorkers have not applied because they do not yet meet the education requirement for the program. To meet the education requirement for DACA, immigrants must demonstrate graduation from high school, or current enrollment in a qualifying educational program, like those supported by the DACA Education Initiative. Those who were honorably discharged from the U.S. military may also be eligible.  
Educational services such as English literacy and high school equivalency classes will be provided through nine community-based organizations run by the following partners: BronxWorks, Fifth Avenue Committee, Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement, LaGuardia Community College, Make the Road New York, New York City College of Technology, Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, NYU Lutheran Family Health Centers, and Queens Library.
Once enrolled in classes, participants will have the opportunity to work with a case manager who will conduct a needs assessment and set goals with each participant. Case managers will help connect participants to social services and vocational or further educational programs. Through this model, the DACA Education Initiative will allow participants to fulfill the DACA education requirement and also facilitate additional opportunities for social mobility.
“The DACA Education Initiative will build a bridge for New Yorkers to access important DACA benefits that may have otherwise been out of reach,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery. “Now a lack of a formal education will not be a barrier for those seeking DACA.”
“... the de Blasio Administration is taking an important step to help immigrants enroll in high-quality, community-based education classes that will also help them qualify for the life-changing benefits of DACA,” said Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Nisha Agarwal. “We look forward to connecting New Yorkers to the literacy, vocational and educational classes they need to establish their eligibility for DACA.”
“The City University of New York has a long, proud history of opening the doors of educational opportunity to tens of thousands of immigrant students. Through the ActionNYC DACA Education Initiative, CUNY is very pleased to partner with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs to enhance the economic, civic and linguistic integration of New York City’s DACA population,” said Donna Linderman, University Dean for Student Success Initiatives and Executive Director of Accelerated Study in Associate Programs
The DACA Education Initiative is the latest effort by the de Blasio Administration to work with a wide range of partners to inform New York City immigrants about the benefits of DACA and help make the program more accessible:

  • In 2016, MOIA, with the support of the New York State Health Foundation, embarked on a DACA Health Care Access ad campaign, which reached more than 300,000 immigrants through targeted advertising to inform New Yorkers about DACA’s benefits, including access to health care. 
  • In 2014, MOIA, together with the New York City Young Men’s Initiative, ran a public advertising campaign about DACA, which was the first mass marketing campaign by the City targeting immigrants to make them aware of available immigration relief.  

Although the implementation of President Obama’s 2014 executive actions on immigration remains halted due to litigation, immigrants can continue to apply for the original DACA program, which recently celebrated its fourth anniversary on August 15. 
DACA is a powerful program that has already provided life-changing benefits to over 725,000 immigrants nationwide, including over 36,000 New York State residents. Under DACA, eligible undocumented immigrants with significant ties to the United States can obtain temporary protection from deportation and access to work authorization and a Social Security number, as well as access to a driver’s license and, in New York State, access to health care for income-eligible immigrants.   
Immigrant New Yorkers who think they may be eligible for the ActionNYC DACA Education Initiative and would like to enroll should call 311 and say “ActionNYC.” For more information on DACA, immigrant New Yorkers should call 311 and say “DACA.” All immigrant New Yorkers can call 311 and say “ActionNYC” to get free, safe immigration legal help.
ActionNYC is a $8.5 million initiative, funded as part of the FY17 Adopted Budget in partnership with the City Council. Visit nyc.gov/ActionNYC for more information on the program.

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