On Thursday, February 11th Camille Mackler, Senior Visiting Fellow on Immigration for Truman Center, hosted a conversation with New York State Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz on the importance of state-level immigration policies. Assemblywoman Cruz, the first DREAMer elected to the New York State legislature, has previously worked in the Governor’s Office, the New York City Council, and the New York State Department of Labor. Throughout her career she has helped create many programs serving New York’s immigrant communities.
Assemblywoman Cruz emphasized the importance of the role that local and state governments have in the immigration reform process through passing targeted legislation. At a community level, the local and state governments can invest in community engagement programs for immigrants. Working with a variety of organizations, Assemblywoman Cruz has improved healthcare access, education, ICE regulations, and policing laws for immigrants living throughout New York. Utilizing her extensive immigration policy knowledge and experiences, Assemblywoman Cruz offered ways that local and state governments can lead the charge to reform the immigration system such as improving translation services and hiring more immigration lawyers.