New York City is facing a challenge with the arrival of thousands of asylum-seeking migrants since last year. There are currently an estimated 31,000 asylum-seeking migrants in the city’s shelter system. A significant number of the asylum seekers have traveled with children and these kids have become part of the New York City Public Schools system.
According to officials from the New York City Public Schools, there are currently approximately 14,000 asylum-seeking children in the public school system. These students are from a Spanish-speaking background, with some of them not speaking English.
A spokesperson for NYC Public Schools spoke to LittleAfrica News, saying, “We currently have over 1,700 certified bilingual Spanish-speaking teachers, but we also believe that all teachers are teachers of English Language Learners. As such, all educators have access to curricular resources, scaffolding instruction, and resources on how to leverage students’ home languages to support their social-emotional and academic learning. We have been standing up additional Transitional Bilingual Programs in schools on an as needed basis, providing teachers in the languages that are most needed.”
The Adams Administration introduced the “Promise NYC” program in January 2023. This program involves the city working with community-based organizations to provide childcare services for undocumented children and their families. The program works to help asylum seekers with children that have had no assistance from the New York State or federal government. New arrivals will be assisted by the program, receiving aid and resources from community-based organizations. According to the New York City website, the program is projected to cater to more than 600 children over six months. Promise NYC will see a $10 million investment as part of the Blueprint for Child Care & Early Childhood Education.
“One of the biggest obstacles for families can often be access to child care, with many parents having to sacrifice jobs because of the lack of care for their children. Promise NYC steps in to help more New Yorkers – undocumented families and asylum seekers – who want to have good-paying jobs and make sure their children are cared for safely. We are making this a fairer city for all families regardless of immigration status. This program will go a long way at ensuring these New Yorkers have opportunities for brighter futures,” the Promise NYC site says.