Posts Tagged ‘Immigration Reform’

Have Questions About Immigration Reform?

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

With tempers flaring and others cheering President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration reform, online commentator Joe Torres dedicated an entire WABC 7 Tiempo show to explain the action’s ins and outs.

To help break it down, he turned to Catholic Charities Community Services Executive Director Beatriz Diaz Taveras and fellow experts during this recent Sunday televised round-table discussion.

The executive action grants special legal status to up to five million immigrants.

The order protects from deportation mostly parents of children born in the United States who

  • Have lived here for 5 years or more
  • Pay a $500 fee
  • Have no criminal record

“This is a humanitarian effort and its really keeping families together,” Ms. Taveras tells Torres.“It’s keeping those United States citizen children and lawful permanent resident children with their parents. …I really think we have to focus on the families as a whole unit and keep the families together and that is exactly what this executive action does.”

Do you have questions about immigration reform?

Call Catholic Charities-administered New York State Immigration Hotline at 800-566-7636.

More Immigration Reform Questions

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration reform leaves many searching for answers to this complicated and controversial topic.

Put your questions in context:  Read this second in a series of El Diario editorials.

Deferred Action Intake Session-48_editChildren Looking for a Chance at a New Life

By C. Mario Russell

For El Diario

For many months, now, we have seen the pictures and read the stories of the thousands of children fleeing gang violence, severe poverty, and persecution in Central America. After a long and dangerous journey to the border, many are resettling with a relative in the New York area, each looking for a chance at a new life.

But to keep this chance alive, they must present themselves before immigration judges who have been assigned to decide their cases, whether they are 7 or 17 years old. This can be an overwhelming and sometimes scary experience for children; a long and confusing process for parents.  And while each child’s case and situation is unique, in this installment I will present a few, basic points about procedure and law that may help families manage expectations:

Going to court is important, even if without a lawyer. Judges will give new appointments to allow children time to find a lawyer. The may enter an order of deportation if no one appears.

A responsible adult should accompany the child to court. Some adults say they are afraid to go because they are undocumented themselves or because they have an old deportation order. In such a case they should contact the Catholic Charities Children’s Call Center at 1-888-996-3848 for the latest information about enforcement policies or for when to attend a live Legal Orientation Presentation.

Judges will not decide the child’s case at the first court appointment. Most cases will take months to prepare and to be decided.

Develop a strong defense. While the process will demand patience it also will be an opportunity to present as full a legal defense against deportation as possible. There are several common defenses. Some children will qualify for asylum, which means proving that they suffered or will suffer persecution if returned to their home country. While not all cases of violence or deprivation qualify for asylum, some victims of gang violence have been able to succeed in their asylum case.

Some children may be eligible for special immigrant juvenile status. This is available to unmarried children under 21 who were abandoned or abused by at least one parent. Children who are living with one parent or have a guardian in the United States may therefore be eligible under this law.

Children who were victims of a crime in the United States may gain status under the “U Visa.” To qualify, the person must have suffered physical or mental abuse because of criminal activity and must have cooperated with law enforcement. Consider how many children were victimized by their smugglers in the United States… Similarly, victims of human trafficking may qualify for “T Visa” status if they were brought illegally to the United States to engage in sex work or in other forms of labor or servitude against their will.

Finally, every parent, custodian and child must know that any child in the United States, regardless of legal status, has a right to public elementary and secondary education, and, in New York State, to certain basic medical care coverage, called Child Health Plus (CHP). (Call the New York State Hotline at 1-800-566-7636 for further information).

Ensuring that these new young immigrants are healthy and in school is as important as making sure that they are guided well in their court proceedings. This is what gives them a real chance at a new life and makes possible all of their promise.

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

Read the full El Diario story in Spanish.

Wonder What Cardinal Dolan Ponders in the Confessional?

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Who can resist Sharon Otterman’s tease this weekend in The New York Times?

“If you ever wondered what Cardinal Dolan might ponder in the confessional,” she writes, “read on.”

Wonder about our New York Archbishop’s inner thoughts?

How has Pope Francis inspired him?

How does this impact our diocese’ focus — carried out through Catholic Charities — on the key issues of poverty, inequality, prison ministry and immigration?

Your questions are answered thanks to this in-depth Q and A with Cardinal Dolan published this weekend in The New York Times:

Q.

Are you, or is the diocese as a whole, increasing focus on issues such as poverty, inequality, prison ministry and immigration?

A.

I think what has happened is that Pope Francis has made it easier for us to be heard on these issues! He has inspired many people to think more about how we care for one another, especially the “least among us.” The bishops of this country have been a leading voice on immigration reform, for many years.

I get a lot of criticism that we bishops preach too much about the immigrant, the poor, the sick, the economy. These are all areas in which the Archdiocese of New York has always been enthusiastically involved…It’s my responsibility to carry that on, just as it is my responsibility to continue and expand our work in charity, education, health care. Yes, Francis inspires me in this regard, as he has inspired people everywhere. That’s a great gift he has given us.

For more than a century, Catholic Charities has helped solve the problems of New Yorkers in need – non-Catholics and Catholics alike. The homeless family, the prisoner and the immigrant are among those for whom we provide help and create hope. We rebuild lives and touch almost every human need promptly, locally, day in and day out, always with compassion and dignity. We help your neighbors as you would like to be helped if your family were in need.

 

Download a PDF version of Catholic Charities At-A-Glance  for a look at what we do in any given year for those in need.

Read the full interview with Cardinal Dolan in The New York Times.

 

 

 

 

 

Cardinal Dolan and State’s Catholic Bishops Support DREAM Act for College Kids

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS Timothy Cardinal Dolan (right) supports creating a state DREAM Act that will allowing state financial aid to go to college kids of undocumented immigrants. Here, Dolan with Mayor de Blasio.

ALBANY — Timothy Cardinal Dolan and the state’s Catholic bishops have come out strongly in favor of creating a state DREAM Act allowing state financial aid to go to the college kids of undocumented immigrants, reports the New York Daily News on February 10.*

“It’s one of our top priorities this year,” state Catholic Conference spokesman Dennis Poust said.

The Catholic Conference, a strong advocate for national immigration reform, views the DREAM Act legislation sponsored by Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Queens) and Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Queens) as something the state can do in the interim.

“New York State, with its history of welcoming immigrants, should be at the forefront of these efforts to support immigrant populations who have contributed so much to the vitality of our state,” the conference said in a memo supporting the bill.

The state Assembly passed the measure last year and is expected to do so again soon. The Republicans who help control the Senate oppose the measure. And there are questions whether there is enough support in an election year for passage, even if the measure did make it to the Senate floor.

Do you need immigration or resettlement assistance, do you hope to go to college, have you been defrauded by an immigration practitioner?

Or do you need any other type of immigration help such as

  • Reuniting with your family
  • Obtaining proper work authorization
  • Learning English and civics
  • Preparing for citizenship exams.

Call the New York State New Americans Hotline  at 800-566-7636.

Manned by Catholic Charities staff,

  • We fielded more than 25,000 calls each year
  • We make over 42,000 referrals to not-for-profit service providers
  • We answer calls in over 100 languages

Click here for more information.

*Read the full story in The New York Daily News.

Catholic Charities Joins Upstate Rally Promoting Services for Immigrants

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Representing Catholic Charities Community Services and the new Opportunity Center that provides English as a Second Language and immigration legal assistance in Orange County, Catholic Charities Migration Counselor Jessica Lazo joined U.S. representatives, businesses, farmers and community leaders at a rally held in Newburgh earlier this month. Ms. Lazo spoke about services Catholic Charities provides immigrants as others urged Congress to take immediate action to pass immigration reform.

“Now is the time that the House should come together to support a bipartisan plan that will … create an earned pathway to citizenship,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D- Cold Spring. “It’s not a handout but a fair way for hard-working people and their children to become citizens.”

Assemblyman Frank Skartados, D- Milton, agreed.

“As an immigrant who came to America when I was a teenager I have learned to appreciate the value of people who come here to make a better life for themselves and their families,” Assemblyman Skartados said. “The time is now.”

Meanwhile, President of the Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester Farm Bureau Mark Adams drew a loud ovation, reports The Times Herald Record, when he said that said the farming industry would be one of the biggest beneficiaries of reform. The industry, he said, needs a “willing legal workforce” or food may be produced offshore.

“It’s good for the economy, it’s good for business and it’s the right thing to do,” Skartados said.

Calling All DREAMers!

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Want to prepare for possible Immigration Reform? Apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals now if you are eligible.
You may qualify for a work permit, driver’s license, and Social Security number if you:

  • Came to the US before your 16th birthday
  • Have continuously resided in the US since June 15, 2007 and are presently in the US
  • Were born on or after June 16, 1981
  • Are currently in school, or have graduated from high school, or have obtained a GED certificate, or are honorably discharged from the US military
  • Have not been convicted of certain crimes or pose a threat to public safety

Receive FREE legal assistance from Catholic Charities Community Services to determine your eligibility and apply.

Call one of these locations:

  • New York City  (212) 419-3700
  • Staten Island    (212) 419-3700
  • Poughkeepsie   (845) 452-1400
  • Kingston             (845) 340-9170
  • Newburgh          (845) 304-7442
  • Middletown       (845) 343-7675
  • Haverstraw        (845) 942-5791
  • Yonkers               (914) 476-2700
  • New Rochelle     (914) 476-2700
  • Monticello          (845) 794-8332
  • Peekskill              (914) 476-2700
  • Port Chester       (914) 476-2700

 

For other locations and general questions about an immigration matter call the NYS New Americans Hotline:

 1-800-566-7636.
Open Monday-Friday 9am-8pm

 

Welcoming Newcomers From Cardinal Dolan

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Cardinal Dolan hits the mark in the WSJ piece today on immigrants in the United States and the concern and role of the Catholic Church. Read it here: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303918804579107131431541914?mod=djemEditorialPage_h

Cardinal Dolan points out three important ways that Catholic Charities works with immigrants: the dissemination of good information to thousands of immigrants each year through the New Americans Hotline, English and civic classes at the new International Center and support to day laborers in Yonkers. Right now, prayer combined with hard work is needed ensure that those rumblings in Washington, D.C. about possible immigration reform and a good Farm Bill will happen. This Farm Bill addresses the need for supplemental meals that so many families rely on. The immigration bill must address a broken immigration system with fair policies that address family unity, a pathway out of the shadows, border security and a legal option for businesses to hire the workers they need. For the individuals and families that Catholic Charities serves, both of these are critical.

Join Our March for Immigration Reform

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Click Image to Download Flyer

Join us on October 5th as we team up with folks in more than 100 cities across the country to raise our voices for immigration reform.  We need to let Congress know that we’ll stand for nothing less than immigration reform with a path to citizenship for eleven million undocumented Americans and for the country as a whole.

It is the right thing to do, the smart thing to do, and long overdue. No more delays!

Catholic Charities Executive Director will join other distinguished speakers at this event led by New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform, a campaign coordinated by the New York Immigration Coalition.

 

Join Us!

When: Saturday, October 5th, 12:00 noon

What: March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect

Where: Cadman Plaza Park, Brooklyn  

Closest trains:  F to York Street, A/C at High St; 2/3 at Clark St; 2/3/4/5/R at Borough Hall

How about volunteering? 

Just fill out this form to join us as a volunteer on October 5th: www.thenyic.org/volunteeroct5th

We are looking for volunteers to:

  1.  Support day-of logistics. By signing up to volunteer for day-of logistics, you are committing to attending the entire event and supporting support needs.
  2.  Work as a marshal during to the rally and march. As a marshal you are charged with guiding the march, keeping order, and relaying instructions to the advocates at the event and while crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.

By signing up to marshal, you are agreeing to participate in an NYIC marshal training, be present at a training by NYPD on the day of Oct. 5th, and committing to attending the event.

Facts about the Becoming America Congressional Pilgrimage

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Congressman Joe Crowley and Msgr. Kevin Sullivan; Freedom Tower in background.

As talk of immigration reform stalls in Washington, interfaith leaders joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers in New York last weekend for the first-ever “Becoming America Congressional Pilgrimage.”

Congressmen including Joe Crowley, Charley Rangel, Mario Diaz-Balart and Michael Grimm joined the pilgrimage to sites that accentuate New York and America’s ethnic diversity such as Ellis Island, Gracie Mansion, the African Burial Ground National Monument, the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the National September 11 Memorial.

Leaders from the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths including Catholic and Evangelical communities welcomed all present.

A concern among many is that families that once worshipped together are now separated by U.S. immigration laws.

Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan meditated in his remarks on verses from the Gospel of Matthew that advise “for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me.”

He also encouraged reaffirmation of the pledge made by our founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence.

“With a firm reliance on divine providence,” he recited, “we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”

 

Watch NY1 to learn more.

Get the Latest on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Seeking more information on Comprehensive Immigration Reform?

Catholic Charities is here to help.

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