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Help Defend Professional Licenses for All!

Friday, April 22, 2016

We’re on the verge of a major win in New York State for thousands of immigrant New Yorkers - but we need your help

On February 24th, the New York State Board of Regents voted to allow DACA recipients and other lawfully-present immigrant New Yorkers to apply for professional licenses from the State Education Department. This vote was a huge victory for all of New Yorkby allowing immigrant New Yorkers to apply to become teachers, nurses, doctors, engineers, social workers and more - for 57 professions in New York State overall. Click HERE to learn more about our advocacy. This rule change would allow thousands of New Yorkers to maximize their tremendous potential, boost New York’s economy, and fill major gaps for New York’s workforce in critical professions. These immigrant New Yorkers - qualified applicants who have received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), temporary protected status (TPS), and other statuses - have spent years of training and dedication to become professionals. They would help fill major workforce needs - for teachers to go to high-need school districts, for nurses needed to provide urgent care to patients and for social workers to mentor New York State’s troubled youth. 

Unfortunately, anti-immigrant politicians have denounced this common-sense move and aremounting a major deceptive campaign to get the Regents to reverse their position.

If these anti-immigrant forces get their way, this opportunity for New York’s immigrant families will get taken away - shutting the door on the dreams of thousands of immigrant New Yorkers. 

Here’s what you can do to fight back:

  • Write a letter to the Regents to tell them that you support their decision. The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) urges its member organizations, partners, allies, and friends to submit comments to express your support for the proposal. The public comment period for this proposal closes in three days - April 22nd, 2016.  The NYIC has drafted a model letter (attached), which you can use.
  • Send the letter to Peg Rivers of the New York State Education Department.  You can email her at peg.rivers@nysed.gov and RegComments@nysed.gov, or you can send the letter to :

                         Peg Rivers
                         New York State Education Department
                         89 Washington Avenue
                         Albany, New York 12234


Draft Letter Template:

April 13, 2016

Peg Rivers, Director of Operations
New York State Education Department
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12234

Dear Ms. Rivers,

I am submitting these comments in support of the New York State Board of Regents Proposed Amendment of Sections 59.4 and 80-1.3 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education relating to the citizenship requirements for professional licensure and certification in teaching and educational leadership service. 


We support granting licenses to individuals in the Title VIII professions and the certification of nurses, teachers and educational leaders to qualified candidates who meet all other requirements except citizenship. These candidates are New Yorkers who come from diverse backgrounds, are often bilingual or multilingual, and can assist New York State in addressing the current shortage of qualified bilingual teachers, service providers and school leaders.

Finally, for New York State students who are not citizens, the proposed amendment will open doors to potential post-secondary opportunities, which we believe will help promote their engagement in school and contribute to lower high school drop-out rates.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed amendment.




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