Jul 6, 2020
A conversation with Steve Choi begins with his upending of assumptions about which immigrants and refugees live in New York State and where. It provides a view into how the New York Immigration Coalition, the nonprofit he leads, mobilizes 200 member organizations to influence local and state policy making. And it includes a review of the toll these tumultuous times are taking on immigrant communities. We associate immigrants with New York City, which remains a constant, but there are over 1 million immigrants residing outside of the City, from Long Island to Westchester to Rochester and Buffalo. And their national origins are so diverse that no single group dominates. The NYIC vigorously protects their legal rights and economic opportunities in a virulently anti-immigrant federal environment. And the needs are growing because immigrants are on the frontlines of service in restaurants, hospitals, and grocery stores during the COVID19 pandemic. While they are losing jobs and even their lives, immigrants have been left out of congressional relief packages, a stunning omission that the NYIC is working to correct. Steve and the NYIC are building influence and power, from the ground up.