Skip to content
Know Your Rights
Source: Make the Road New York
Subject: Adult Literacy
Type: Press Advisory

Immigrant New Yorkers Join Efforts to Protect Community Services for Adult Learners, Urge Governor Paterson to Restore Funding for Adult English Classes

WHAT:     The first in a series of community events, "Immigrant Communities:
Fighting for Our Survival, Fighting for One New York," in which
organizations from across the city will hold media events to urge the
state and the city to restore recent cuts to adult literacy and job
training programs for immigrant workers. Students and teachers from
Make the Road New York, in partnership with the New York Immigration
Coalition, will discuss the impact of these recent cuts to their

Immigrant and non-immigrant New Yorkers share the
pains of the economic downturn, which has affected nearly every
community in our state with uncertainty, unemployment, and cuts in
critical services. The crisis facing immigrant communities is
exacerbated by Governor Paterson’s proposal to deeply cut the only two
immigrant-specific programs offered by the state — the NYS Refugee
Assistance Program and the NYS Citizenship Initiative — by over 20%
and 50% respectively. His proposed budget also cuts over $2 million for
Adult Literacy Education services, a source of funding that supports
hundreds of organizations that provide adult English classes in New
York City, such as Make the Road New York. 

WHEN:     Tuesday, February 17, 11-11:30 a.m.

WHERE:  Make the Road New York
                  9210 Roosevelt Ave. (7 Train to 90th St., on Roosevelt between 92 and
                  93rd  streets)

WHO:       State Elected officials;
                  Immigrant adults who will lose services if cuts are enacted

More than 20 percent of the New York State’s population is foreign-born
(twice the national average) and more than two million New Yorkers are
in the process of learning English. Immigrant workers have been
adversely affected by the loss of jobs in the construction industry and
allied trades, as well as in the service sector. Despite the vast need
for adult training opportunities for immigrants during these difficult
times, fewer than 60,000 free or low-cost government-funded adult
English classes are available, leaving 94 percent of the need for adult
education classes (including ESL classes) unmet.

The "American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" represents the single largest
investment in recent history in the American economy and workforce.
Given that immigrant and ELL workers are woven into the fabric of the
economy and are a large proportion of the current and future labor
force, Make the Road New York and the New York Immigration Coalition
urge Governor Paterson to send a positive message to immigrant and ELL
workers and students by addressing their needs in our state’s use of
stimulus funds.

***Photo Opportunity***