This summary was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.
New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Bitta Mostofi announced Thursday that she will be leaving the de Blasio administration in early May. She joined the de Blasio administration in 2014 and was appointed commissioner in 2018. Mostofi led the city’s fight against the Trump administration’s immigration policies that attacked and created fear and confusion among immigrants. Under Mostofi, the agency saw major growth in its programs that provided legal services, accessibility to city offerings and educational opportunities for immigrants in the city. Deanna Garcia for Documented.
When Their Community Suffered, These Asian Americans Stepped Up Where the Government Didn’t
📍 Documented Original
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a wave of hate toward Asian Americans. But it has also brought New York City’s Asian community together. Early in the pandemic, customers avoided Chinatown in fear of contracting coronavirus. But Gabi Tran, who calls Chinatown a home away from home, saw a need to step in. Last March, she joined Welcome to Chinatown, a group that sounded early alarm bells about the rise in anti-Asian hate and started a fund to help struggling businesses. Many Chinatown businesses weren’t eligible for New York City small business loans due to their proximity to wealthy areas, but were able to benefit from Welcome to Chinatown’s grants. Read more at Documented.
Documented Talks: The Future of Chinatown
📍 Documented Event Recap
Manhattan’s Chinatown has suffered throughout the pandemic with businesses closing down and former President Donald Trump spreading false rhetoric about the connection between the coronavirus and China. Rong Xiaoqing, a reporter for the Chinese-language newspaper Sing Tao Daily, held Documented’s third online event to discuss the future of Chinatown. Wellington Chen, executive director of the Chinatown BID, spoke about how the Chinatown community helped businesses during the pandemic. He noted that last summer, 312 restaurants were open in Chinatown, but only 29 remain open. Joanne Kwog, president of Pearl River Mart, discussed finding a new location for the longstanding store and the difficulty small businesses in Chinatown underwent this year. Yin Kong, founder of Think! Chinatown, talked about inequity and language barriers within city assistance programs and how her organization reached out to the Chinatown community. If you would like to see a recording of the event, please join our Documented Community membership program here.
Essex County Terminates Contract Housing ICE Detainees
Essex County in New Jersey announced that its jail will no longer hold immigrants for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Detainees will be moved out of the correctional facility in Newark by the end of August. The county collects $117 per day for every ICE detainee it holds, which it put towards the county budget to curb property taxes. County officials have long defended the contract, claiming detainees were treated well and kept them close to their families. Activists were thrilled to hear the news and hope the two other Democratic counties, Hudson and Bergen, would follow in Essex’s footsteps. Gothamist
Support the work of Documented
Documented was founded with the goal of making sure the people affected by our stories were also the people reading them. Immigration reporting is often extractive and isn’t produced or published with the main protagonists as the intended audience. Through our reporting and out outreach via WhatsApp, we’ve created award-winning journalism that is created with and for New York’s immigrant communities. This work is not easy and it is not cheap. Consider becoming a member today to help fuel this work. By joining the Documented Community, you can not help only provide us with the financial freedom needed to fulfill our mission but also meet others who are passionate about immigration in the New York area. Become a member today.