Archive for the ‘Welcoming and Integrating Immigrants and Refugees’ Category

How to Fight Confusion on Immigration Reform

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

driptychBy Alice Kenny

As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie joined three governors in filing a brief on Monday, March 23, 2015 to push back against President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, Catholic Charities teamed with nonprofit providers to continue to push forward, informing those who could benefit from the President’s plan about the ins and outs of administrative relief.

Immigration attorneys, social  workers  and fellow experts met with 300 people in the heavily Hispanic community of Port Chester in Westchester County at the Don Bosco Workers Community Center.

During the meeting Catholic Charities’ legal team provided information about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and Expanded DACA program.

The attorneys also cautioned attendees to stay away from individuals such as “notaries” who may charge high fees for fabricated applications for immigration status.

With so much conflict in the press and on the ground it’s easy to get confused.

Do you have immigration questions?

Call the Catholic Charities operated New Americans Hotline at
1 (800) 566-7636(NYS)  (212) 413–3737 (other states).

 

 

Six Reasons Cardinal Dolan Blessed Our Immigrant & Refugee Services

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

IMG_8085sm
In a special event held to bless our work with new immigrants and the central site where this work is carried out, Cardinal Timothy Dolan met, greeted and blessed staff, new immigrants and the Catholic Charities Immigrant and Refugee Services Division at its new location at 80 Maiden Lane yesterday, March 18.

The Division relocated to this downtown Manhattan site in December 2013 to accommodate Catholic Charities’ growing immigration services that respond to the expanding needs of this community. This new location — located near immigration courts, the USCIS office, colleague agencies and a transportation hub for those seeking our assistance from all parts of New York City — has proven ideal for clients and staff alike.

It allows us to serve 100s of individuals who come to us for help each month and provides space for meetings and special initiatives.

As staff shared with Cardinal Dolan, our immigration team has a lot to brag about. The team:

 1.  Leads the regional case management, legal and resettlement response and care for the influx of unaccompanied Central American children.

2.  Helped orchestrate the successful “Terra Firma” medical-legal partnership program for unaccompanied children.

3.  Mobilized a team of more than 30 lawyers and support staff to help educate more than 800 immigrants at multiple parish and community centers in area that spans from Staten Island to upstate Kingston, NY about how they can benefit from President Obama’s Executive Action immigration reforms.

4.  Collaborated in the NYC-wide mass screening event for administrative relief (DAPA/DACA) scheduled for April 12, 2015.

5.  Prepared for the upcoming conference, “Responding to the Needs of Immigrants and Immigrant Families in New York State,” scheduled for March 25, 2015 with more than 300 career professionals already scheduled to attend.

6.  Expanded anti-fraud partnerships with district attorney offices and partners in New York City and state.

Cardinal Dolan shared his hallmark hugs, quips and high fives with staff and those we serve as he toured our legal, services for minors, English and Cultural Instruction and phone hotline programs before blessing staff, friends of Catholic Charities and the many individuals and families who come for help.

Watch this slideshow of the event now.

Women Bought and Sold

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

El diario

The premier Spanish-language newspaper “El Diario” turns to Catholic Charities Director of Immigrant and Refugee Services C. Mario Russell for regular updates on immigration reform.

Learn this week in El Diario – and below — about the grotesque reality of human trafficking.

By C. Mario Russell

March is filled with days that should be considered so much more than Hallmark holidays.  It has been designated as Women’s History Month; March 8th celebrated International Women’s Day and March 25th is marked as an International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery. These are important dates designed to recognize the woman for her profound place in the human community and to remember in solidarity the deep wounds she bears at the hands of that community.

Yet these wounds continue, particularly in the world of immigration.

For example, we soon will come upon another important marker: the one-year-anniversary of the mass abduction of 276 schoolgirls by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in Nigeria when, according to Human Rights Watch, children were taken into captivity and sold into marriage, forced to convert from their religion, and made to endure physical and psychological abuse, forced labor, and rape.

Unfortunately, there are other examples as well that are far too close to home. Evelyn, 21, a top ranked student in her native country, was lured from Cameroon into the U.S. by a rich Maryland couple who promised her a bright future and a top-rate education. Instead, she was given no education and forced into servitude for the wealthy couple. And just this January 2015, Cristina Andres pleaded guilty to two counts of commercial sex trafficking. She was prosecuted for recruiting two girls, ages 13 and 17 at the time, with promises of a job in a Nashville restaurant. Instead, she used physical force and threats against the victims and their families to keep the girls in brothels in Memphis and Nashville.

The market for buying and selling of humans is sophisticated and robust, and only occasionally do publicized scenes like these force us to enter into its grotesque and brutal reality.

(more…)

Check out this Pipe Band Marching Down 5th Ave.

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

By Alice Kenny
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

There’s no better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than to hear a pipe band marching down Fifth Avenue.
And there’s no better group to celebrate with than us here at Catholic Charities.

Are you an Irish emigrant looking for help?
• Today and every day our Project Irish Outreach offers the Irish community advice, counseling and support services.
• For Irish emigration support, contact us at 914-237-5098 or Sr.Christine.hennessy@archny.org

Or are you just looking for the best way to celebrate the big day?

Check out this live pipe band:

And may you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live.

Tap the Brains of Immigration Experts

Monday, March 16th, 2015

By Alice Kenny

Perplexed by Executive Action initiatives, counter suits and new immigrants’ overwhelming needs?

Join us on March 25, 2015 at the Sheen Center in New York City as Catholic Charities teams up with fellow leading immigration service providers.  Address challenges immigrant families face. Explore the evolving response of those who serve them.

More than 300 directors, counselors, professors, attorneys and fellow professional are already enrolled.

Sponsored by Catholic Charities, Catholic Migration Services and Center for Migration studies, the all-day event:

  • Places these challenges in a broader policy, moral and demographic context
  • Describes the coordinated response to immigrants in the New York metropolitan area
  • Identifies lessons, success and continued challenges in responding to the populations and to immigrant families

Check out our agenda for more information

It’s free! Sign up now while there is still room.

 

President & Congress Guide Immigration Law — Not Texas Judge

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

El Diario, the premier Spanish-language newspaper, turns to Catholic Charities Director of Immigrant and Refugee Services C. Mario Russell for regular updates on immigration reform.

Questions about the impact of Texas Judge Andrew Hanen on immigration reform?

Read Mr. Russell’s latest El Diario column below:

By C. Mario Russell

The lawsuit brought by Texas and 25 other states against President Obama’s Deferred Action program for 4.7 million undocumented immigrants was bound to draw the attention of the federal courts. And with over 670 federal judges in the United States, one of them—Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas—was bound to find a reason disagree with the President. Because, in his view, Texas would have to absorb the cost of issuing more state driver’s licenses to immigrants who qualified for Deferred Action, last week Judge Hanen ordered that the programs be put on hold. This was to be expected.

On Monday, lawyers for the government filed court papers requesting that the judge’s decision be reversed and that the federal programs immediately be allowed to go forward. This also was to be expected.

This litigation back-and-forth will last for a while, with more preliminary legal battles and more substantive decisions to come from the judge and from the Court of Appeals. Some of the decisions will be appealed further, possibly to the Supreme Court of the United States, which would have the last word. This, too, is to be expected.

(more…)

Cardinal Egan

Friday, March 6th, 2015

remembering-cardinalegan

Today we say adieux to Cardinal Egan.   While we will miss him greatly, we wish him well in his new heavenly home.

Much has already been said and much more will be written on the occasion of his death yesterday at age 82.  Let me share a few items from the perspective of Catholic Charities that may not have been captured elsewhere.

My words are understandably biased.  Cardinal Egan appointed me as Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York shortly after the tragedy of 9/11.  I was privileged to work together with him.   Here are some of the reasons I think he deserves  appreciation for the time he served as Archbishop of New York

He visited our Catholic Charities agencies and programs, meeting regularly and consistently with the people we help and those doing the helping.  Because he was warm and caring with them, all left feeling uplifted and supported, both with the difficult lives they lived and the difficult work they did.   Thank you, Cardinal Egan.

He built the Board of Trustees of Catholic Charities,  a dedicated and generous group of New York leaders who undergird  and oversee the support we provide New Yorkers in need.  To attract these talented individuals he passed on his role as Chair of the Board to John Phelan, the former chair of the New York Stock Exchange.

In multiple ways Cardinal Egan encouraged generous philanthropic support for Catholic Charities.  One of his key initiatives involved his own Cardinal’s Committee of the Laity that he intentionally renamed the Cardinal’s Committee for Charity.  He directed the focus of this group of New York business and civic leaders to provide Catholic Charities with financial resources and counsel to amplify the services we provide and the number of people we serve.

To support partnership between the government and the charitable work of the Church he interfaced with officials in a quiet sophisticated way apart from the limelight.  When issues arose that could have damaged this partnership his efforts were effective in preventing actions that could have hurt poor and vulnerable New Yorkers of all religions.

It is also worth noting on this 50th anniversary of the equal rights march from Selma to Montgomery Cardinal Egan’s  presence during the tumultuous sixties in sharing our Church’s vision for the common good.   He was a regular participant with clergy in Chicago, one of  America’s major urban centers, as they worked to overcome racial and social injustice.

In short, Cardinal Egan effectively supported, blessed and encouraged growth of the fair and charitable work of the Church. During his tenure, the 90 affiliated agencies of the Catholic Charities federation grew from providing $500 million to $750 million of services, support that provides help and creates hope for all New Yorkers in need.

And so, again, adieux, fair well, and thank you.  Cardinal Egan, please keep in mind in heaven the needs of those of us still here below – especially, those for whom Catholic Charities provides help and creates hope.

- Monsignor Kevin Sullivan

Catholic Charities Faces Off Against Judicial Order Live On ABC7

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

CMarioRussellTiempoBy Alice Kenny

Join Mario Russell from Catholic Charities and Senator Adriano Espaillat on ABC7 as they take on the controversial judicial order that just blocked immigration reform.

“I think (the judge) is hiding the ball,” Mr. Russell, Catholic Charities Director of Immigration and Refugee Services tells ABC7 host Joe Torres on the Sunday talk show. “The President isn’t doing anything new that hasn’t been done before.  Deferred action is given all the time.  Employment is just a side benefit.”

So what should the 338,000 potentially eligible people in New York do in the mean time?

“This is a momentary block… that the courts will work out over time,” Mr. Russell says.

“What’s key and this is what we do at Catholic Charities is we work to keep people informed. We give presentations.  We go to community meetings. We’ve met with over a thousand people…sending the same messages-

“Don’t be afraid.  Stay informed.  Continue working on developing the evidence of your case, whether its evidence of residency, of your identity, anything else.”

Watch and learn as Mr. Russell and Senator Espaillat take this controversy head on.

 

 

Free Immigration Conference — Run By New York Experts

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

By Alice Kenny

Don’t get lost in litigation over President Obama’s Executive Action on immigration reform.

Sign up now for a free conference run by immigration experts.

Learn about the President’s proposed action that:

  •  Provides for unauthorized parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (DAPA)
  •  Expands  the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program
  •  Includes other important initiatives

Take part in key-note presentations led by:

  • Faith leaders
  • Federal, state, and local officials, legal service agencies
  • Community-based agencies
  • National immigrant rights groups.

Participate in discussions that:

  • Examine federal, New York State and New York City policy, outreach, and Executive Action initiatives.
  • Explore legal services mobilization efforts by public and private entities and other collaborative programs in New York City, Long Island, and the Lower Hudson Valley, focused on outreach, public education on benefit eligibility and the risk of fraud, and provision of legal screening, representation and advocacy.
  • Address the role of non-legal, community-based institutions, particularly Catholic parishes, in ensuring the program’s success.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Catholic Migration Services of the Diocese of Brooklyn, and the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) will host this all-day event.

When:  March 25. 2014

Where:  The Sheen Center (in lower Manhattan).

Learn more.

Click to register now.

 Or email your name, title, organization and email address to cms@cmsny.org.

Don’t Let a Judge’s Temporary Stay Get in Your Way: PREPARE NOW for Immigration Reform

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

By Alice Kenny

You know the drill; the back and forth on immigration reform.

Don’t let it get in your way.

This time it was a Texas Judge Andrew Hanen’s recent ruling that put a temporary halt on President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration.

So instead of starting this month, changes in U.S. law to help immigrant parents, children, spouses, skilled workers will not kick off until later this year.

Get ready now!

Don’t be scammed: Do NOT give anyone money to help you in advance with an application!

Check out these flyers in multiple languages to learn what YOU need to know!

 Spanish · French · Korean  · Russian · Hindu

Call Catholic Charities at the New York State New Americans Hotline. That’s 1-800-566-7636

  • For more information,
  • Referral to a nonprofit legal service provider,
  • Community presentations
  • To report schemes and attempts to defraud immigrants