NYC Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs Discusses City's Immigration Policies
Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs Spoke to Students about Her Career and NYC's Approach to Immigration Advocacy and Reform
New York, October 1, 2014—New York City’s Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs spoke last week to students at Columbia Law School about her aims to connect immigrants with pathways to justice, advocate for reform, and embed a culture of inclusion across city agencies.
Nisha Agarwal said New York City is taking an innovative approach to immigration issues in the absence of comprehensive federal immigration reform.
|Nisha Agarwal, New York City's Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs, addresses the Law School community.|
“Democracy can be pretty inspiring at the local level,” she said.
Agarwal is an accomplished public interest lawyer who served as a lecturer at the Law School before she was appointed to her current position by Mayor de Blasio. At the event, she discussed her career and answered questions from students about everything from the right to legal counsel in immigration proceedings to the challenges the city faces in rolling out its new municipal ID card program.
“The idea is to open up the city for everyone,” said Agarwal, who was introduced by Associate Clinical Professor of Law Elora Mukherjee, director of the Law School’s new Immigrants’ Rights Clinic.
Agarwal has been a leading voice in immigration reform at the local and national level. Most recently, she worked with Judge Robert A. Katzmann, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, to establish the Immigrant Justice Corps, a nonprofit that partners recent law school graduates with non-profit legal services providers to offer legal representation to undocumented immigrants. Agarwal was previously deputy director of the Center for Popular Democracy, the non-profit advocacy group dedicated to advancing pro-immigrant, pro-equality and pro-justice policies at the grassroots and national levels, which she co-founded in 2012.
Her appearance at the Law School was sponsored by the Human Rights Institute, Social Justice Initiatives, the Society for Immigrant & Refugee Rights, and the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic.
|Dean for Social Justice Initiatives Ellen Chapnick and Associate Clinical Professor of Law Elora Mukherjee, director of the new Immigrants' Rights Clinic, join Agarwal at the Sept. 25 talk.|