A child of immigrants from India, Nisha Agarwal became a public interest lawyer out of Harvard Law School, leading the Health Justice Program at the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest in 2006. Among other initiatives, she worked for translation services for immigrants seeking health care. She later was the deputy director and co-founder of the Center for Popular Democracy and the executive director of the Immigrant Justice Corps, a legal fellowship begun by Robert A. Katzmann, the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Agarwal served as Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs since the beginning of the de Blasio Administration, building landmark initiatives like IDNYC, the City’s municipal identification card, and Cities for Action, a national advocacy coalition of local elected officials. For the second term of de Blasio’s administration, Agarwal will take on the role of Senior Advisor to the Deputy Mayor to boost civic engagement among New Yorkers and build DemocracyNYC’s efforts on immigration, disability, and healthcare.