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NYC Public Advocate Highlights the Issues Facing Black Migrants

New York (NY PUBLIC ADVOCATE): As New York continues to see a large number of migrants arriving in the city, Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams today highlighted the unique challenges faced by Black migrants.

   At a City Council joint hearing of the Committees on Immigration and Hospitals, he emphasized that the stories of Black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean often fall on deaf ears, and that this lack of prioritization leads to disparate harm. 

   “Black migrants have shared their experiences facing racism and anti-Blackness within a system that historically deports, detains, and confines Black migrants at a higher rate than any other racial or ethnic group,” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

   “These are realities the city has to grapple with, and in order to make any progress, we must hear directly from those living these realities.

   From the local to the federal level, my office and I have been calling for greater resource allocation for Black migrants, and this hearing is a great starting point.”

   Public Advocate Williams, who is the son of Grenadian immigrants, pointed to language barriers as a key component of undeserving Black immigrant communities, and urged equity in housing and other city services.

   He said: “Language accessibility is a lifeline for immigrants and opens doors to legal services, housing, economic empowerment, and other opportunities… Many of these migrants are navigating an entirely new city, culture, language, and systems after what may have been a long and harrowing journey just to get here.”

    On top of all that, they may face increased scrutiny, xenophobia, and racism just by nature of being a Black immigrant. The city, among the existing and future resources it provides and distributes, must ensure that at minimum, there is equity of resources above all else.” he added.

   At a press conference prior to the hearing, over 1,000 people were estimated to be outside City Hall, an unprecedented turnout for a hearing. There, the Public Advocate called the sight “one of the most beautiful things” he had seen in his time in elected office, declared it a “proud moment” and pledged that “today, they will hear you.”

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NYC Public Advocate

NYC Public Advocate

The NY Public Advocate serves as an ombudsman for city government, providing oversight for city agencies, investigating citizens' complaints about city services and making proposals to address perceived shortcomings or failures of those services.
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