NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Raquel Batista as Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) on June 15, 2021. Batista, who is succeeding Bitta Mostofi as Commissioner, is an attorney with over two decades of experience advocating on behalf of immigrant New Yorkers. As Commissioner, she will continue to center immigrants in New York City’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“New York is, and will always be, a city of immigrants,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Raquel has the lived experience and passion necessary to make this city a fairer and more equitable place for immigrant New Yorkers to call home. Our recovery depends on it.”
“I am humbled and honored to have been named the Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. My grandmother and parents came to New York City in the 1960’s from the Dominican Republic seeking a better life for their family. My appointment is a testament to them and all immigrant communities that their hard-work, their struggle pays off. MOIA is an innovative and cutting-edge government institution that provides a blueprint for the rest of the country on how to assure that immigrants have access to government services, are provided resources and support and signals that they are welcome. I am excited to work with the Mayor, MOIA’s dynamic team and immigrant community leaders in New York City’s recovery,” said Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Raquel Batista.
About Raquel Batista
Raquel Batista is second generation Afro-Dominicana, Latina, lifelong New Yorker and attorney with over two decades of experience advocating for the rights of immigrant New Yorkers. Most recently, she served as the Community Legal Fellow at CUNY Law School – CLRN. Batista previously served as an Adjunct Professor at Manhattan College teaching Immigration Law, Policy and Politics and at the Latin American and Puerto Rican Studies Department at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
In the early 2000’s, Batista served as the Executive Director of the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights and as a board member of the New York Immigration Coalition, North Star Community Funding Board and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Alumni Board. Before and during law school, Batista worked in various roles at the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (now LatinoJustice/PRLDEF) on issues from the Census to Redistricting. In 2014, she served in the Mayor’s Office of Appointments, helping to identify diverse candidates for City positions.
Batista earned her Juris Doctorate from the City University of New York School of Law at Queens College and her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, cum laude, from Manhattan College.
“As the former executive director of the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights and with her ongoing engagement addressing social justice issues for New York City residents, Raquel Batista understands that for many immigrant families, becoming a United States citizen is the realization of hard work, dedication, hope and dreams for a better life for themselves and for their families,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat.
“Raquel’s voice will be instrumental in ensuring immigrant rights and protections as she transitions to her latest role as Commissioner for the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and I look forward to working with her to ensure immigration remains at the forefront of our city, local and national discussions.”
“My congratulations to Raquel Batista on her appointment as the new Commissioner at the Mayor’s Office of Immigrants Affairs. Raquel comes with decades of experience as an attorney working on behalf of those who need it most in NYC, especially underserved immigrant communities in the South Bronx and upper Manhattan,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “I have every confidence in her commitment to service and advocate for the more than 1 million immigrant New Yorkers who call this city home.
“New York’s immigrants have helped our city thrive and make it the vibrant, diverse city that we love,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “I send my sincerest congratulations to Commissioner Raquel Batista on her appointment as the Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and look forward to working with her to ensure that our immigrant population is included in our city’s just and equitable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.”
“Raquel Batista is a tremendous choice to further build on outgoing Commissioner Bitta Mostofi’s laudable accomplishments and lead the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs into the future,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “As a graduate of the CUNY School of Law at Queens College and a fearless advocate for immigrants’ rights, Raquel knows the importance of supporting and uplifting the diverse communities that make up The World’s Borough. We look forward to working closely with her in the weeks and months ahead.”
“The New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO applauds the appointment of Raquel Batista as Commissioner for the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs at a critical time for our immigrant populations and all New Yorkers,” said NYC CLC President Vincent Alvarez. “A steadfast advocate for working families, we can count on Raquel to continue to fight for the rights of those most vulnerable in our city. We look forward to continuing to work with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs to ensure our government is responsive to the needs of our diverse city.”
“We are thrilled by the appointment of Raquel Batista to be our city’s next Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs,” said SEIU 32BJ President Kyle Bragg. “We look forward to working closely and productively with Raquel as we have in the past, as a strong partner on issues to secure and expand rights for our immigrant members, their families and communities.”
“The appointment of Attorney Raquel Batista is fully welcome by the immigrant working class community of NYC. Raquel, a daughter of Dominican immigrants, brings with her the sensitivity and understanding of our communities’ needs. Especially after the last year and a half when our immigrant communities were at the forefront of the essential workforce that provided services from supermarket shopping lines and health care at hospitals, nursing homes, and home care services to restaurants, food delivery and public transportation. Bienvenida Raquel! You do us proud. Looking forward to working with you in this period of recovery as our city comes back to normal,” said Estela Vazquez, Former Executive Vice President, 1199 SEIU.
“I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio’s appointment of Raquel Batista, as Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. Raquel is a champion of immigrant rights and a respected community leader in NYC. Heartfelt congratulations,” said Guillermo Chacon, New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) Board Chair.
“Raquel Batista has been a long-standing leader for immigrant rights in New York City,” said Theo Oshiro, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York. “We congratulate her on this appointment and are excited to continue to partner with her in this new role to ensure respect and dignity for immigrant communities across the city.”
“We are excited to welcome Raquel Batista as the New Commissioner for the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. Ms. Batista knows firsthand the ever-changing challenges of the immigrant community in New York City. She brings years of successful experience in serving our immigrant community on legal and social justice issues that have impacted their day-to-day lives. We look forward to working with her in this new role,” said Frankie Miranda, President, Hispanic Federation.
“Raquel Batista has an outstanding track record in organizing with and fighting for immigrant New Yorkers! I applaud Mayor de Blasio for choosing her to lead this important agency in this time, when immigrants need our City to have their backs,” said Annetta Seecharran, Executive Director, Chhaya Community Development Corporation.
“We are excited that Raquel Batista has been appointed Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. Her expertise and commitment to New York City’s diverse immigrant communities will enhance MOIA’s important work. We look forward to working together to support the economic, health, and rights of the Asian American community,” said Wayne Ho, President and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC).
“As a Dominican-American, I am very proud of the appointment of Ms. Raquel Batista as Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrants Affairs; New York City has been described as a gorgeous mosaic, Ms. Batista is an example of the many ways that sons and daughters of Immigrants contribute in improving the quality of life of this gorgeous mosaic,” said Dr. Rafael Lantigua, co-founder and former Chairperson of the Board of Alianza Dominicana, Inc. and Co-founder and former Chairperson of the Board of the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrants Rights.
“Raquel E. Batista, Esq., has dedicated her professional career and life to supporting immigrant communities and her appointment as the Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs is cause for celebration. NMIC looks forward to working with her and her team to ensure that our immigrant communities thrive,” said Maria Lizardo, Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation Executive Director.
“Ms. Raquel Batista’s experience as a lawyer and former director of Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights will add to the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs’ advocacy and knowledge on immigration issues that impact all New Yorkers,” said Zenaida Mendez, the Director of the Manhattan Neighborhood Network El Barrio Firehouse.
“I am excited about the appointment of Raquel Batista as our new Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs and congratulate Mayor de Blasio for selecting the best candidate for this role. As the daughter of Dominican immigrant parents, an immigration Lawyer and the executive director of the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, Raquel knows the challenges, discrimination, and injustices that are often faced by immigrants. Raquel brings to this position her professional experience, her passion, and years of advocacy on behalf of the immigrant community. I could not think of a better person for the job, and look forward to working with her to improve the lives of immigrants in NYC,” said Quenia Abreu, President, New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce.
“Raquel Batista is a champion for our immigrant brothers and sisters, and is an inspired choice to lead the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. She is a fierce advocate who has dedicated her career to fighting for families that have chosen to make our great city their home. As a daughter of New York City, I am confident she will be a strong voice for compassionate policies that protect and empower immigrant communities,” said Marco Carrion, Executive Director of El Puente.
“Raquel Batista’s professional work is deeply rooted in her immigrant identity and experience. Commissioner Batista understands the struggles and challenges that immigrant families face. I am grateful for her commitment to protecting the dignity and humanity of the immigrant community. Onward!” Wanda Salaman, Mother’s on the Move and Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center.
“Raquel Batista, a proud daughter of immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic, comes to the Office of Immigrant Affairs with an impressive track record of personal and professional achievements and a steadfast and unwavering commitment to social justice for immigrant New Yorkers. As a non-profit leader in northern Manhattan, I strongly supported her stewardship of the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights at a critical moment for immigrants. NYC will be well served by her grounded experience and deep knowledge of the needs and concerns of immigrants in our city,” said Moises Pérez, founder of Alianza Dominicana Inc.
“We applaud the appointment of Raquel Batista as the Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs,” said Jose Perez, Deputy General Counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF. “Commissioner Batista is a long-time ally, colleague and community champion, and knows first-hand the myriad of health, housing and economic challenges New York City’s immigrant communities continue to encounter as a result of the pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted them. We look forward to expanded collaborations to protect these most vulnerable members of our great metropolis.”
“Our immigrant communities contribute greatly to the diversity and vibrancy of New York City,” said Community Affairs Unit Commissioner Roberto Perez. “Congratulations to Commissioner Raquel Batista on her appointment to lead the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. I look forward to working together to support our immigrant communities as we build a recovery that works for all New Yorkers.”###
(Press release from the Office of the Mayor of New York City)