Originally published on September 16, 2014
On Tuesday, September 16, the New York State Assembly Committee on Social Services and Standing Committee on Children and Families Task Force on New Americans held a public hearing with State agencies to address the influx of migrant youth from Central American countries and to examine the state’s role in caring for youth who enter the United States illegally through the southwestern border.
“Here in New York City, we are fully committed to supporting these children and their families,” said Nisha Argarwal, Commissioner to the Mayor’s Officer of Immigrant Affairs in New York City.
Federally-funded State agencies in New York try to provide these migrant youth with legal aid and special care services. However, these organizations struggle annually to receive proper funding from the government to give each migrant child sufficient educational, legal, and health services.
“By investing about $24 million dollars a year in these kids, we can assure their future and the future of New York State. They have potential to become our future and nobody has placed emphasis on investing their future,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director at Catholic Charities of the Diocese of New York, at Tuesday’s hearing.
The special service care providers and legal aid organizations present at the hearing agreed on the common notion that this issue starts with the whole young person and encouraged the assembly members to examine the funds allocated by the state in regards to helping these children.
“It is important for us to understand what is happening, to understand where to do better” said Member of NYC Assembly Marcus Crespo, “When you come down to it and when you see the faces of these innocent children…it really hits home.”