NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a nearly $8 million investment to aid immigrant New Yorkers.

De Blasio said Monday that the funding will create navigation hubs at immigration services organizations across the five boroughs.

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“We can build the capacity of community-based organizations and legal service providers to ensure that all New Yorkers can come out of the shadows and live their lives freely,” he said. “This program demonstrates New York City’s commitment to ensuring everyone can live their own American dream.”

The mayor said hubs will help better connect recent immigrants to services if President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration are implemented.

“We know that when the executive action fully takes effect, a huge number of New Yorkers will benefit, but we also know they need the legal assistance to full benefit from these new opportunities,” he said.

The mayor’s Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs Nisha Agarwal said a lot of New Yorkers would qualify.

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“Over 200,000 people would be eligible,” she told WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola. “They would have to apply, they would have to get good legal help to be able to get their applications in.”

De Blasio made the announcement at the annual National Immigrant Integration Conference, this year held in Brooklyn.

The mayor told the story of his own grandmother emigrating to the U.S. from Italy. He criticized the anti-immigrant positions taken by some Republican presidential candidates.

De Blasio called for cities to do more and used the example of a Syrian refugee family that resettled in New York earlier this year.

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