Immigrant Advocates Praise ‘Project Open Arms,’ Urge City To Leverage Existing LIFE Project Model to Ensure Student Success

NEW YORK, NY (TIP): New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New York City Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor David C. Banks, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Manuel Castro, and New York City Department of Social Services (DSS) Commissioner Gary Jenkins, on August 19,  announced “Project Open Arms” to provide support for asylum-seeking youth entering the school system and help enroll students as the school year quickly approaches. The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) has focused on addressing barriers that immigrant families face enrolling their children through our pioneering LIFE Project, which engages NYIC member organizations (immigrant-led community-based organizations) to help immigrant families with eligible children enroll in Pre-K and 3K programs. For the last five years, LIFE Project partners have worked one-on-one with families to understand what they’re looking for, provide families with information about their options, and support them through the enrollment process in a culturally and linguistically fluent manner.

Kim Sykes, Director of Education Policy, New York Immigration Coalition:

“The City is right to focus on cross-agency coordination and meeting families where they are – in person – to get youth into the right schools ahead of the first day of class on September 8th. The City must ensure that youth are enrolled at schools that are well-prepared to meet their needs, and that have deep expertise in supporting students learning English for the first time. While this moment certainly demands a special response, newcomer families arriving in NYC and needing support enrolling their kids is something this city and community-based organizations have experience in and have been doing for a long time. There are best practice programs, such as our Linking Immigrant Families with Early Childhood Education (LIFE) Project, that have proven enormously successful, should be used in this moment, and be made a permanent part of the City’s infrastructure.”

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