Immigration Groups Join Hands to Help the Undocumented

A consortium of government officials, community and immigration advocates is formed to help the undocumented immigrants take advantage of President Obama's administrative relief.

Posted on 12/5/14
By Staff | Via ViewsWeek
Left to Right: Jorge Montalvo, director of NYS Office of New Americans; Steven Choi, executive director of NYIC; Assemblymember Marcos Crespo; Izaskun Pineda, representative of the Consulate General of Mexico; Neena Dutta, chair of the New York Chapter of AILA; Grace Shim, executive director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action; Theo Oshiro, deputy director of Make the Road NY; Jennifer Friedman, director of Pace Community Law Practice; Patrick Young, director of CARECEN.  (Photo via NYIC)
Left to Right: Jorge Montalvo, director of NYS Office of New Americans; Steven Choi, executive director of NYIC; Assemblymember Marcos Crespo; Izaskun Pineda, representative of the Consulate General of Mexico; Neena Dutta, chair of the New York Chapter of AILA; Grace Shim, executive director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action; Theo Oshiro, deputy director of Make the Road NY; Jennifer Friedman, director of Pace Community Law Practice; Patrick Young, director of CARECEN. (Photo via NYIC)

New York government representatives, community organizations, legal service providers, business leaders and immigrant leaders announced a multi-level coordination plan to help New York immigrants to fully benefit from President Obama’s historic announcement of administrative relief for five million immigrants in the United States.

 

The cornerstone of the plan is the creation of an unprecedented public-private partnership – the New York Immigrant Assistance Consortium – to serve as the statewide coordinating body for this effort. By ensuring a coordinated strategy to reach, educate, and assist every New Yorker eligible for administrative relief, we can ensure that immigrants are able to live to their fullest potential, avoid falling victim to immigration fraud, and contribute an estimated $152 million in additional tax revenue to the State over the next four years, says a press release issued by the New York Immigration Coalition, a New York-based immigration advocacy organization.

 

“This is an exciting and historic time for our communities as we prepare to bring hundreds of thousands New Yorkers out of the shadows and allow them to live up to their full potential, free of fear of deportation” said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition at a press conference at the Center for Community and Ethnic Media at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism on December 4.

 

“By working together with government agencies and service providers, we can share our strengths and our resources to reach and assist the maximum number of New Yorkers, and at the same time ensure that they do not fall victim to scams and false promises.”

 

The New York Immigrant Assistance Consortium brings together legal service providers, community-based nonprofits, state and local government agencies, private immigration and non-immigration attorneys, and other stakeholders who will work hand-in-hand to ensure that a coordinated approach is taken that ensures that every New Yorker potentially eligible for the President’s Executive Action on Immigration is aware of the newly available relief and receives proper assistance through the process. The Consortium, its structure and the statewide coordination plan have been developed over the period of the last year with the participation of the New York Immigration Coalition, the New York State Office for New Americans, immigrant community leaders, the City of New York, the legal services community, and many others.

 

“The New York State Office for New Americans stands ready with all consortium partners to carry out a comprehensive plan to ensure that eligible New Yorkers take full advantage of the recent change in federal immigration policy,” said Jorge Montalvo, director, New York State Office for New Americans. “This unique public-private partnership is critical to the work we will all do on this initiative, which is a tremendous opportunity for our immigrant community, our State and its economy.”

 

“President Obama’s recently announced executive action on immigration reform will require immediate advocacy, support and outreach to ensure that those who qualify get accurate information, are protected from fraudulent providers, receive needed assistance and that city, state and federal resources are coordinated to maximize their impact,” said Assembly Member Marcos Crespo. “Knowing that immigrant New Yorkers are a prominent component of our social fabric, shared communities and vital members of our economic development agenda, I am proud to join this diverse group of partners in announcing the creation of New York Immigrant Assistance Consortium to better coordinate these efforts.”

 

Izaskun Pineda, representative of the Consulate General of Mexico stated, “The Government of Mexico welcomes the announcement of administrative measures on immigration by the President of the United States. It’s an acknowledgement of immigrants’ contribution to economy and society of the US. The measures will benefit a significant number of Mexicans in the country, increase their opportunities as well as help them live with greater dignity and certainty. The New York Immigration Coalition has been an important partner of Mexico’s Consulate General to address the new and developing needs of the Mexican migrant community, as well as to inform them about actions that may benefit them.”

 

Jennifer Friedman, director of Pace Community Law Practice said, “The Pace Community Law Practice is proud to join New York Immigrant Assistance Consortium and to work collaboratively with our colleagues in government, the private sector, and other nonprofit organizations to coordinate a response so that our communities have access to trustworthy information and legal services.  We look forward to helping those in Westchester and the Hudson Valley who qualify for this relief, and to collaborating with our colleagues around the state to help get information and services to the most underserved communities.”

 

“We are pleased to be part of this critical and dynamic effort to bring needed services together – from both the public and private sectors – in order to ensure as many people as possible have a chance to pursue this much-deserved and long-awaited opportunity. We stand ready to help in any way we can,” said Anne Erickson, President of the Empire Justice Center, a statewide legal services organization working to secure social and economic justice in New York.

 

“The MinKwon Center is looking forward to the collaborative efforts of the New York Immigrant Assistance Consortium,” said Grace Shim, executive director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action. “The need for high-quality, linguistically and culturally competent services and advocacy will be tremendous in New York to meet the needs of more than 250,000 immigrants, including tens of thousands of Asian immigrants. The MinKwon Center, as a part of the Consortium, is committed to working with all the many community-based groups, legal providers, government agencies and others to prepare a concerted coordination of efforts to adequately meet the upcoming need.”

 

“Administrative relief aimed at overhauling our immigration system is a positive first step in putting our nation on a path that will benefit all Americans,” stated John Degliuomini, NALEO Educational Fund New York program manager. “To ensure this policy helps the nearly 250,000 immigrants who may benefit from these changes in New York State, NALEO Educational Fund will be hard at work ensuring the community is well-informed about their rights, the application process and the various legal and social services that will be made available through this important partnership.”

 

Marika Dias, managing attorney of Make the Road New York said, “The President’s administrative relief is a hard-fought victory for immigrant communities and an important stepping-stone in the ongoing fight for a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants. Make the Road New York is pleased to be working with our community and government partners in the Consortium to ensure that all eligible immigrants have a chance to access this life-changing opportunity.”

 

“As immigration attorneys, we see the results of our broken system every day and in the absence of Congressional action, the President had to act,” said Neena Dutta, chair of the New York Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “As we see this plan come into action, we want to make sure that all consumers know their rights and give people ability to find qualified lawyers to help with their legitimate claims. Sometimes these folks are intimidated by the thought of going to a lawyer or fear great expense but there are certainly affordable legal services which are safe and secure and we will be working around the clock to make sure people know these are available.”

 

“We welcome the President’s actions,” said Pat Young, supervising attorney at the Central American Refugee Center. “This will help 30,000 to 50,000 immigrants on Long Island step out of the shadow that has left them vulnerable to hate crime attacks and exploitation.

 

The President’s new administrative relief directive, announced on November 20th, will provide “deferred action” status and defer the deportation and grant work authorization to up to four million parents of U.S. citizens and green card holders, as well as expand eligibility of the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for undocumented individuals brought to this country as children. The President also announced sweeping changes to the way the administration provides services to citizenship applicants, green card applicants, and those coming to the U.S. to create employment and business opportunities.

 

Taken together, the President’s Executive Action on Immigration opens the door for hundreds of thousands of immigrant New Yorkers to live without the fear of deportation, work legally for the first time, re-unite with their families without having to leave the country for long periods of time, and use their skills to advance New York’s business, technological, and scientific ventures.

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