For Immediate Release: April 29, 2021
NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner led efforts to combat Trump administration's xenophobic attacks on immigrants; defend DACA, among other critical protections; and increase access to resources, education, and services for New York City's three million immigrant New Yorkers
NEW YORK, NY — The New York City Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) Commissioner Bitta Mostofi today announced her plans to depart from the de Blasio administration, effective in early May. Commissioner Mostofi joined the de Blasio administration in 2014 and was appointed commissioner in 2018. She led the City's fight against the Trump administration's federal immigration policies that directly attacked and caused fear and confusion among immigrants, threatening the safety and health of communities across the country before and during the global public health crisis.
Under her leadership, the agency experienced dramatic growth in its programs and services that ensure access to justice, expand accessibility of City services, and provide educational opportunities for immigrant New Yorkers that encourage civic participation, among the many ways MOIA has supported the City's COVID-19 response and recovery efforts through outreach, direct assistance, language access, and more.
"I am grateful for Bitta's fierce and tireless efforts to make New York City a more just and accessible place for immigrant families," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "From combating the Trump administration's relentless attacks on immigrants head-on to leading the vision for a bold national strategy to further immigration reform, Bitta's leadership has been critical for inclusive, equitable, and resilient communities for all."
"Bitta Mostofi's exemplary work as MOIA Commissioner helped foster collaboration among advocates, community-based organizations, elected officials, and more to help build the necessary trust in local government needed to ensure that immigrant New Yorkers are empowered to access many City services available to all, regardless of immigration status," said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives J. Phillip Thompson. "Under Bitta's guidance, MOIA grew to become the nation's largest local office dedicated to serving immigrants and centering the needs of our diverse communities through response and recovery efforts. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors."
"It has been an honor to serve immigrant New Yorkers in this administration and I am humbled by the trust bestowed upon me during some of the most tumultuous years in the lives of so many immigrants across this great city," said MOIA Commissioner Bitta Mostofi. "While there continues to be much work to be done, I am proud of the myriad achievements we have accomplished and the example we have set for local leadership across the country. None of this would have been possible without my incredible team at MOIA, colleagues across our administration, and the many community partners we work alongside. I am grateful to the Mayor for this opportunity and for his deep commitment to immigrant New Yorkers."
Demonstrating the City's commitment to immigrant New Yorkers, the de Blasio administration has made major investments in programs and initiatives that MOIA leads, manages, and supports to further include immigrant New Yorkers in the civic, economic, and cultural life of the City.
Since the start of the de Blasio administration, the City's investment in access to justice programming—including comprehensive, community-based immigration legal services through MOIA's ActionNYC program—has increased by 475 percent. Additionally, the de Blasio administration has increased by 450 percent funding for programs that expand accessibility of services such as IDNYC, the largest municipal identification program in the country, and through language access, including the implementation of the City's language access law to ensure that City government can effectively communicate with and serve New Yorkers with Limited English Proficiency (LEP).
The City's investment in immigrant rights and education programs that promote civic participation has also grown to an annual budget of $3.1 million during the de Blasio administration. This includes programs launched during the administration such as MOIA's We Speak NYC English language learning program, Know Your Rights program, and Poll Site Language Assistance program. An additional $100 million has been invested in improving health care access through NYC Health + Hospitals' NYC Care program. New Yorkers who cannot afford or do not qualify for health insurance may be eligible to receive low-cost or no-cost services through NYC Care.
Through Mostofi's tenure, MOIA's accomplishments reflect an affirmative agenda to ensure all NYC immigrants can live full and complete lives.
Key to the work Commissioner Mostofi led for the agency was expanding immigrant access to the City services and resources. This includes:
MOIA's programs and initiatives have helped immigrants connect more deeply to the city and empowered immigrant New Yorkers to act on their rights and participate in civic life. This was demonstrated through:
When the Trump administration sought to separate immigrant children from their parents, escalate immigration enforcement efforts, and attack Dreamers, Commissioner Mostofi led the City's aggressive response to combat these egregious policies, launch rapid response legal and outreach support to address immigration enforcement, and fight to defend DACA at the federal level.
Under Commissioner Mostofi's leadership and in working with partners across the city and country through Cities for Action—a bipartisan coalition of nearly 200 U.S. cities and counties, founded by Mayor de Blasio in 2014, that advocates for pro-immigrant federal policies and the civic inclusion of immigrant communities—New York City stood up for immigrant residents in federal courts by:
The NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) promotes the well-being of NYC's immigrant communities by advocating for policies that increase justice, equity, and empowerment. MOIA leads, supports, and manages programs that help to successfully include immigrant New Yorkers into the civic, economic, and cultural life of the City. For more information on all MOIA services and the City's many resources for immigrant New Yorkers, go to nyc.gov/immigrants; call the MOIA hotline at 212-788-7654 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday or send an email to AskMOIA@cityhall.nyc.gov; and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Medium.