Aug. 19, 2022 By Czarinna Andres
Mayor Eric Adams announced Friday that the city has launched a program to help families seeking asylum enroll their children in public school.
The city estimates that at least 1,000 children of asylum-seeking families will enter the public school system next month, with most of the students located within six school districts– districts 2, 3, 10, 14, 24 and 30. Districts 24 and 30 are in western Queens.
The program, called Project Open Arms, aims to support these families, by ensuring that their children are ready to start school on Sept. 8, the first day.
Adams’ office says that more than 6,000 asylum seekers have arrived in New York from border states since May. Most have arrived from Texas, with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott busing undocumented immigrants from the Lone Star state to the New York City and Washington D.C.
“Our city has been, and will always be, a city of immigrants that welcomes newcomers with open arms,” Adams said. “Project Open Arms ensures we are well prepared to assist asylum-seekers as the school year begins and that we are offering wraparound services to students and families.”
The project, a multiagency initiative, aim to simplify the school enrollment process, provide backpacks and school supplies for the students, offer support in the immigrants’ native languages, and offer extracurricular activities targeted to students’ needs and interests. The project also aims to make sure that “school curricular and instructional resources are culturally and linguistically responsive.”
The project also aims to connect asylum-seeking families to health care clinics for ongoing pediatric care.
“Our public schools are prepared to welcome families seeking asylum with open arms,” said DOE Chancellor David Banks. “Our city has always stood with those in need of refuge and shelter and this administration will continue that proud legacy.”