Posts Tagged ‘Chinese’

How Will President Obama’s Immigration Executive Action Affect Me?

Monday, December 8th, 2014

“On Thursday of last week, President Obama brought hope to half of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America,” writes Catholic Charities Director of Immigrant and Refugee Services C. Mario Russell in his recent El Diario column.

“He did this in a way no other president has done before and showed America at its best.

  • He promised to treat them with dignity and with compassion.
  • He told them they would be given a fair chance to be part of society.
  • He lifted from their shoulders the burdens of fear and uncertainty.”

Do you have questions about President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration reform and wonder how it may affect you?

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

Starting in the next several months, about 4 million undocumented immigrants in the United States—mothers, fathers, children—will be able to apply for “deferred action” status. If eligible, they will work legally in the United States for a few years without the daily anxiety of deportation. One estimate puts the number eligible in New York State at just under 340,000.

There are those who accuse the President of acting like a king, of making rules outside the law, and of doing something unprecedented. These accusations are legally and factually wrong.  More important, they come from people who have used their power to frustrate the American people’s desire that immigrants be treated with dignity, compassion, and inclusion under the law. Facts are important: in 2013 comprehensive immigration reform did pass the Senate by a wide margin of votes, a bi-partisan vote for reform in the House of Representatives was blocked by Republican leaders, and 75% of Americans polled as recently as 3 days ago still support a plan for immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented.

America has always believed in basic truths about immigrants. Immigrants don’t threaten our way of life, they enrich it. Undocumented immigrants, like people, are not “illegal”; they just lack status. For hundreds of years they have married, grown families, prayed, and set roots in our communities. And they have worked hard. Undocumented immigrants added a net $100 billion to Social Security in the past 10 years, paid $11 billion in taxes in 2010, and will further contribute $45 billion in payroll taxes over the next 5 years if given work permits.

These truths go back a long time—as far as 1868—when Americans approved the Constitution’s 14th Amendment guaranteeing citizenship to the children of Chinese, Gypsy, and African slave immigrants, and to every person born on American soil. Senator John Conness of California, himself a naturalized Irish citizen, and a believer in justice for immigrants, said at the time in support of the amendment that immigrants were “entitled to equal civil rights.”

On Friday of last week, the day after Mr. Obama’s extraordinary announcement, I met with a Mexican family I have known for more than five years. The mother and father find day labor when they can. They pay taxes each year and live quiet, careful lives in upstate New York with their four young children. When they learned they would not qualify for Mr. Obama’s deferred action plan their faces fell; their anguish was barely contained.

This anguish is shared by millions. These are the people for whom America still needs to fulfill its promise of equal civil rights, a promise it spoke of more than 140 years ago.


Mario Russell is Senior Attorney and Director of Immigrant and Refugee Services at Catholic Charities, 80 Maiden Lane, NY, NY 10038; he teaches immigration law at St. John’s University School of Law.

 Click here to read this post online in Spanish.

Localized, Streamlined Support for Sandy Survivors

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Press conference spotlights services for Sandy survivors.

By Alice Kenny

Chinatown political representatives joined TV correspondents and reporters at a well-attended press conference held at the Greater Chinatown Community Association (GCCA) in Manhattan’s Chinatown last week to broadcast the latest information about disaster support for Sandy survivors. Watch it on

GCCA, an affiliated agency of the Archdiocese of New York’s federation, is one of more than fifteen social service agencies extending from Long Island to the Hudson Valley providing local, on-the-ground disaster case management to individuals with homes or businesses damaged by Superstorm Sandy.  The New York State Disaster Case Management Program, managed by Catholic Charities Community Services, Archdiocese of New York, will provide approximately 200 disaster case managers to assist individuals and families in the 13 -New York counties hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy.

Designed to streamline support and avoid frustration and confusion, the Disaster Case Management program whittles down the complex system of disaster support by providing survivors with a single point of contact to access a broad range of resources. This allows people still reeling from the loss of jobs and homes to avoid the need to search out multiple organizations that might respond to their various needs.

Instead, survivors can relate their experiences and submit their documentation to a single, local disaster case manager who guides them through the recovery process.  This local model of providing disaster support proves particularly important in sites such as Chinatown where language barriers can make a confusing process almost overwhelming.

An elderly Chinese man with lung cancer whose basement apartment flooded during the storm, for example, received different answers from so many different places that, by the time he came to GCCA for help, “he was ready to give up,” said GCCA Executive Director Chih-Ping (Andy) Yu.

Disaster case managers are both advocates and expediters for those affected by Sandy. They first assess if clients have unmet needs related to the storm. If people qualify, they will be assigned a disaster case manager to serve as a single point of contact for all  assistance, including that coming from insurance companies, private organizations, and government. Then, based on interactions with the client, the service coordinators create individualized disaster recovery plans, including advocating for access to needed services, coordinating benefits, and making referrals for services outside the scope of disaster case management. Existing Sandy-related services for individuals and families range from direct federal and state grants and Small Business Administration loans to insurance advocacy and referrals to the range of not-for-profit and voluntary programs that have been established.

The program is modeled after a similar one run by Catholic Charities Community Services in 34 counties across New York State following Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011.

Eligibility for the Sandy New York State Disaster Case Management Program is open to anyone with an unmet need that arose from or was exacerbated by Superstorm Sandy, even those who have not applied to FEMA for assistance or are undocumented.

Looking for help?

  • Call 1-855-258-0483 to find the location nearest you.
  • Are you a Sandy survivor who lives in Chinatown or speaks a Chinese dialect and is looking for help? Contact the Greater Chinatown Community Association, 105 Mosco Street, New York, NY 10013.  Phone 212-374-1311.
  • For a full list of disaster case management locations, visit