*Reposted from Gotham Gazette. Written by  Anna Kaufman (photo: @ShahanaFromBK)*

How city government is addressing the needs of immigrant communities is shaping up to be one of several key issues as Mayor Eric Adams and the New York City Council negotiate the next city budget, due by the July 1 start of the new city fiscal year.

Among a series of March hearings held by the Council on Mayor Adams’ $98.5 billion preliminary budget plan, representatives from the Mayor’s Office on Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) and advocates appeared before Council members to discuss the allocation of resources to the city’s different programs designed to support and empower immigrant communities. The hearing was led by Council Member Shahana Hanif, a recently-elected Brooklyn Democrat who chairs the Council's Committee on Immigration.

Hanif is co-chair of the Council’s Progressive Caucus and represents District 39, which includes parts or all of Park Slope, Borough Park, Kensington, Windsor Terrace, Gowanus, Carroll Gardens, and Cobble Hill, and includes large Southeast Asian communities, including the Bangladeshi-Americans Hanif is among. Hanif has been among those critical of Adams’ approach to his first budget plan, which included planned reductions in spending at many city offices and agencies but not at the NYPD, which Hanif believes should see a significant reduction in funding to reinvest in communities.

MOIA is a relatively small office within the Mayor’s Office, not its own city department, with roughly seven staff members and, in Adams’ budget plan, funding of a little over $800,000. But MOIA is not the only city entity serving immigrant communities, instead operating more of a policy and coordination function, while also running some programming. The city’s major programs serving immigrant communities are run through specific city departments.

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