Posts Tagged ‘DACA’

Largest Free Legal Screening Event on Deferred Action Just Held in NYC

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

CRAIG WARGA/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

By Alice Kenny

More than 600 people, mostly immigrants desperate for honest information on immigration reform, packed Temple Emanu-El on East 65th Street City for free legal screenings on Sunday, April 12, 2015.  Catholic Charities joined fellow not-for-profit immigration service providers and New York City in organizing and staffing this event with over 300 volunteers–including experienced immigration attorneys, administrative staff, interpreters, and law students–to deliver quality advice about immigration options.

The event was held to combat scammers and cheaters including “notarios” (immigration service providers) that have flooded the immigrant community with false promises of help with President Obama’s Executive Action program. But the President’s program is still on hold as opponents duke it out in the courts.

Sunday’s event, considered the first large-scale information/assistance event of its kind in New York City, is our way of fighting back.

“The range of cases was as broad as it was challenging,” says Mario Russell, director of Catholic Charities Immigrant and Refugee Services, “but we seemed to meet so expertly all the questions and needs presented.”

Attendees received clear information in their native tongues about the status of executive action.  They also received individual screenings to learn if they may qualify for various types of immigration relief.  Screenings focused on President Obama’s proposed Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA).  DACA focuses on those who entered the U.S. before age 16.  DAPA focuses on persons without documentation who were here on Jan. 1, 2010 and had a U.S. citizen or permanent resident child born on or before Nov. 20, 2014.

Missed this big event and still need help?

We’re holding free immigration legal screenings across the New York archdiocese.

For more information call Catholic Charities at the free New York State New Americans Hotline at 800- 566-7636.

Read more in the Daily News

Six Reasons Cardinal Dolan Blessed Our Immigrant & Refugee Services

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

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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.

View this Facebook album of the event now.

Whiz Kid Immigrant Works with FB’s Mark Zuckerberg but Still Can’t Get Permanent Legal Status

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

photo 2By Alice Kenny

Similar to many New Yorkers, Carlos Vargas attended kindergarten through college in New York City.

Similar to very few, he worked on a mobile app with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

And similar to a small percentage, he relies on temporary, two-year government immigration renewals to  remain in the nation where he has lived since he was five years old.

In this land of opportunity, Carlos has come a long way.  His widowed mother cleaned houses, babysat and collected cans to support him and his four siblings.  To help out, Carlos began at age 13 washing dishes daily at an Italian restaurant near his home while discovering his passion for computers and eventually putting himself through college.

He qualified for DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals available to some children brought to the United States by parents who lacked legal immigration status.  After receiving DACA legal immigration status two years ago that includes two years of work authorization in the U.S., he came to Catholic Charities to apply for mandatory renewal to avoid  to Mexico, a land he barely remembers.

Read his full New York Times Neediest Case story now.

Homeland Security Announces Big Opportunity for Undocumented Immigrant Youth

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Deferred Action Intake Session-48_editThe Secretary of Homeland Security recently announced that undocumented immigrant youth who have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status (DACA) can renew that status for another  two years.

For the past two years, immigrant youth who met specific criteria* including coming to the United States before age 16 and residing continuously in the US since June 15, 2007 have been eligible for DACA status. This allowed them to receive work permits for two years, as well as driver licenses and social security numbers. In some states, they would also be eligible for in-state tuition.

The big news is that those who have already been granted DACA can now apply to extend their DACA status and work permits for an additional two years. Those who qualify but have never applied for DACA before, can continue to apply on a rolling basis. There is no deadline for initial applications.

Sounds complicated?  Call the Catholic Charities–managed New York State New Americans Hotline at 1-800-566-7636 for more information and referral to an agency that can help.

Here at Catholic Charities we are prepared to help with the renewal process as well as with enrolling first-time applicants.

 

Contact us to:

  • Avoid scams.
  • Understand eligibility.
  • Obtain correct information about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

*Click here to learn more about DACA eligibility.

“It is crucial to get the correct information about DACA and the renewal or initial application process and, for those who need legal assistance, to obtain referrals to reliable not-for-profit programs that provide free services,” said Raluca Oncioiu, director of Immigration Legal Services for Catholic Charities Community Services.

Msgr. Sullivan Joins Gov. Cuomo to Celebrate Office of New Americans

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan joined Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, members of the New York State legislature and fellow members of the New York Immigration Coalition in Albany yesterday, March 18, to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Office for New Americans.  A groundbreaking event, the anniversary marks the first time a statewide office has focused solely on assisting our state’s immigrants in their efforts to contribute to the economy and become a part of the family of New York.

The Office’s cornerstone includes a network of 27 neighborhood-based Opportunity Centers hosted within existing community-based organizations throughout the State. The Centers help New Americans learn English, prepare them for the U.S. citizenship exam and help them start and grow businesses so they can fully participate in New York State’s civic and economic life.

Nearly a quarter of these centers are affiliated with Catholic Charities, demonstrating the emphasis and value we place on assisting new New Yorkers to integrate and participate in our state’s civic and economic life.

Msgr. Sullivan joined with fellow community leaders and elected officials to outline the Opportunity Centers’ major accomplishments as well as possibilities for expansion to support economic growth.

“Fostering economic development and allowing immigrants to become fully integrated are important outcomes that the New American Centers allow our new neighbors to achieve,” he said.

Statistics demonstrate their success.  New York’s 4.3 million immigrants make up more than a quarter of New York’s total work force, reported  Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, and account for $229 billion in economic output.  It is estimated that each eligible foreign-born New Yorker increases their individual income by up to $3,800 when they naturalize.  Furthermore, if all eligible foreign-born New Yorkers naturalized, their collective earnings in New York would increase by $1.5 to $2.2 billion.

“Immigrants are an incredible gift to any country and their industriousness teaches the rest of us that even we can strive for greater heights,” Msgr. Sullivan added.  “New York is so blessed to be the home and the gateway for those who have made our state a much richer place.”

The Office for New Americans also supports the New York State New Americans Hotline, the toll-free, multi-lingual information center run by Catholic Charities.

Are you a New American looking for help…

  • Finding English-for-Speakers-of-other-Languages (ESOL) training?
  • Preparing for the naturalization process?
  • Connecting to business resources to harness your entrepreneurial spirit?
  • Developing and leveraging your professional skills?
  • Receiving Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals?
  • Strengthening the connections with your community?
  • Avoiding exploitation?

Call our New Americans Hotline at 800-566-7636

Fighting to Keep the Life She Built

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

By Alice Kenny

Seven years old when her family moved her from Mexico to Yonkers, Beatriz Rivera, now 31, does all she can to achieve the American dream.

At age 14, she began her career at the bottom rung as a bagger at a local grocery chain store.  Quickly she was promoted to cashier, then supervisor, then customer service rep, then junior accounting clerk.  Ultimately she worked as the manager’s executive assistant.

However, the work permit she received at age 17 expired years ago.  So, while she has a valid social security number and driver’s license, she also counts herself among the “Dreamers” who live both openly and in the shadows of American society.

This impacts her life in small and large ways.  For example, although she has been paying state, local and social security taxes for more than a decade, she would be ineligible to receive social security benefits.

Fortunately, Catholic Charities attorneys are helping her obtain a two-year, renewable work permit by filling out a Deferred Action Plan for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) application.

Now, while working full time, she is also pursuing her associate’s degree to become a registered nurse.

Read her full story in The New York Times.