Posts Tagged ‘immigration’

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Monday, March 17th, 2014

We’re wearing the green today.  Yet every day Catholic Charities provides specialized services to address the needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable Irish emigrants — along with emigrants from all nations.

Thanks to significant support from the Consulate General of Ireland, Catholic Charities through Project Irish Outreach has offered the Irish community settled in New York City and Westchester County frontline advice, counseling and support services for more than 26 years.

Services include information and referral, immigration legal assistance and/or representation, social services casework, pastoral services, maternity services, ministry to Irish prisoners,  healthcare information and referral and general support services for individuals, families and the elderly.

Catholic Charities staff are located in Aisling Irish Community Center in Westchester County and at the Catholic Center in Manhattan.

Are you an Irish emigrant looking for help?

Please call us at 914-237-5098 or email us at Sr.Christine.hennessy@archny.org

Erin go bragh!

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.

One-Legged Dad & Deaf Son Refuse to Let Disabilities Define Them

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Jose Arias did not curse fate when, at age 7, a car side swiped the car where he sat on a road in his native Dominican Republic and tore off his entire right leg. And he did not curse fate when his four-year-old son was diagnosed as deaf.

Instead he took any job he could get from cleaning cars to painting houses in Puerto Rico.  He and his son received legal U.S. permanent residence there nearly 20 years ago.

He also did all he could to help his son work hard as he did to overcome his own disability.  During school semesters, he sent the younger Jose to a school for the deaf in their native Dominican Republic because the school offered him a scholarship and a superior education than similar schools in Puerto Rico.  And during holidays and the summer months, he reinforced with his son the value of working hard to move beyond their life of poverty.

But when the U.S immigration authorities incorrectly took away young Jose’s green card in July 2011, Mr. Arias and his son did not accept this as fate.  Instead, for more than two years they fought back, hobbling from street to street and office to office speaking in Spanish, broken English and sign language to reverse this erroneous immigration decision.

Finally, thanks to free legal support supplied by Catholic Charities, an immigration judge completely reversed the flawed 2011 decision on October 24, 2013.  Now that Jose del Carmen is acknowledged once again as a lawful permanent U.S. resident he plans to complete studies to become a computer technician and land a job that will enable him to support his father as well.

Read their story in The New York Times.

How to prepare for Immigration Reform

Friday, April 19th, 2013

A. There are no new laws yet and no “amnesty;” all we have is a bill in the Senate. We are still many months away – if not longer – from any new laws. You can call us at 800-566-7636 to check if the law has passed; we’ll be happy to answer your calls.This Senate bill is only the beginning of the conversation. There will be a long time before we know what the law looks like and before anyone can apply for anything.

B. In the meantime you should NOT give anyone money to any notarios, agencies, or lawyers to prepare an application or help them gather documents. Once we have a Comprehensive Immigration Reform law, there will be many reliable agencies that will help people at low cost and possibly for free. There is no need to pay thousands of dollars now.

C. What you can do is to start preparing on your own in the following ways:

i. Start a box of important documents, including:

1. Identity documents;

2. Evidence of when you came to the US and how long you have been here (the date in the Senate bill is December 31, 2011, but people who came to the US before they turned 16 and would qualify under the DREAM Act, should gather evidence for all those years that they have been living in the US);

3. Evidence of any trips outside the US after the first arrival (evidence of how long they were out of the US);

4. Evidence of work (particularly if you are an undocumented farm worker) or education in the US (particularly for DREAM Act-eligible kids);

5. Copies of any applications you already made to INS/USCIS;

6. If ever arrested, get the certificates of disposition, because those with certain serious convictions will not be eligible to apply, so you will need to show those conviction records to an attorney.

ii. Start learning English;

iii. US citizens who want to sponsor their siblings should talk to an attorney about starting the process now (the Senate bill proposes to eliminate visas for siblings of US citizens – but that can also change);

iv. Save money because there will be penalty fees (Senate bill says $2000, to be paid in stages) in addition to application fees.

Msgr. Sullivan Leaves for Washington D.C. for the Bipartisan Senate Bill Announcement

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Msgr. Sullivan meets with immigrants before leaving for D.C. for the presentation of the bi-partisan Senate immigration reform bill.

“We are hopeful that the filing of a bipartisan Senate bill on immigration seems, after many years, to make comprehensive immigration reform a real possibility. We appreciate the hard work of the group of Senators and others that has made this possible. We note with special pride and recognition the work of so many Catholic organizations and the leadership of the Bishops on this issue. While we are hopeful and supportive, the bill is complex and requires careful analysis.  There will be opposition.  We look forward to making suggestions for improving the bill to even better reflect our longstanding concerns for family unification, a fair, legal immigration system, protections for temporary workers, effective, yet humane border security and due process in enforcement.  We look forward to working in partnership with many to ensure that this reform happens for a straightforward reason—concern for the common good of the nation and the well-being of individual immigrants and their families.”

- Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York

 

 

 

Do you have immigration questions? We have answers.

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Get answers—in your language—by calling Catholic Charities at the New York State New Americans Hotline: 212-419-3737 or 1-800-566-7636 (toll-free in NYS).

Catholic Charities operates the New York State New Americans Hotline, a statewide information and referral hotline that gives general information and referrals to appropriate service agencies in response to immigration and citizenship-related questions.

Hotline operators speak English, Spanish, French, Romanian, Polish, Albanian, Japanese, and Arabic. The New Americans Hotline provides an expanded menu of language options, previously not available, via a language service line, as well.

The NYS New Americans Hotline does not provide legal advice. Questions on individual eligibility are referred to legal services agencies for immigration consultations.

                                                      

Critical Issue of Immigration Reform Moves to Top of Washington Agenda

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

President Barack Obama plans to lay out his vision for immigration reform in Las Vegas today, January 29, 2013, a vision, CBS news reports, that he originally laid out in a major immigration speech in El Paso, Texas in May 2011.

A group of bipartisan senators formally unveiled their framework for comprehensive immigration reform yesterday that is said to be similar to the president’s plan.

“It is both overdue and heartening that the critical issue of immigration reform is moving to the top of Washington’s agenda,” said Catholic Charities Executive Director Monsignor Kevin Sullivan. “Each day Catholic Charities responds to many calls for assistance from immigrants who needlessly struggle and are threatened by the dysfunctions in our current system.”

Day in and day out, Catholic Charities helps immigrants reunite legally with their families, obtain proper work authorization, learn English and civics, and prepare to pass citizenship exams. Catholic Charities also assists immigrants in avoiding exploitation by unscrupulous practitioners by providing correct information and realistic counsel about immigration status.

In any given year…

3,378 families counseled and protected from exploitation
40,651 calls answered in 18 languages with accurate information
445 breadwinners helped to obtain authorization to work
417 immigrants reunited with their families
281 refugee and asylee families resettled
291 immigrants taught English

“Keeping families together, fair and humane legal immigration policies, reducing illegal immigration, protecting against exploitation and an earned way out of the shadows for the undocumented are all parts of broad immigration reform that this country needs,” Msgr. Sullivan continued. “Catholic Charities is ready and willing to work with many partners to achieve this critical goal.”

Do you need help? Get correct information in 17 languages:

Call Catholic Charities at the New York State New Americans Hotline: 212-419-3737 or 1-800-566-7636 (toll-free in NYS).

For more information please visit the following web links:

Learn More About Deferred Action

Monday, September 10th, 2012

The New York State Childhood Arrival Deferred Action Program can provide immigrants with work authorization and the ability to attend college.

To learn more:  Check out the upcoming Deferred Action Information Session

     •     When:  Saturday, September 15, 2012

     •     Where:  YMCA, 17 Riverdale Avenue, Yonkers

     •     Time:  6:00 P.M.

 

Hosted by Catholic Charities, Yonkers Councilman Wilson Terrero and the Yonkers YMCA

Click here to download the flyer.

Avoid Scams; Get Correct Information about Deferred Action

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan joined New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales, the Consuls General of seven nations, the President of the New York State Bar Association and others at the Catholic Center, 1011 First Ave., New York City on August 15th to announce initiatives designed to make sure that young people eligible for the New York State Childhood Arrival Deferred Action Program take full advantage without being exploited by scammers.

Certain young people, known as “DREAMers,” who were brought to the United States as children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet specific criteria (see below) can now apply, effective August 15, 2012, for Deferred Action, which is temporary relief from removal (deportation) from the United States or from being placed in removal proceedings and which, if granted, will provide work authorization and the ability to attend college.

Speakers at the event stressed the importance of obtaining correct information about Deferred Action to avoid scams and to understand eligibility for this benefit. New York State reports that it has already received notifications about con artists trying to take advantage of young people, charging money for services that may not be provided, and risking young peoples’ chance to take advantage of this opportunity.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York is ready to help. Individuals seeking more information and seeking service providers as well as schools, churches, and other community-based organizations interested in scheduling presentations about deferred action can call Catholic Charities at the New York State New Americans Hotline, 1-800-566-7636, (formerly known as the New York State Immigration Hotline.)

Interest has been intense. Nearly 500 young immigrants and their representatives phoned this hotline the first day applications were taken. Callers receive help in 17 different languages.

“Basic fairness coupled with sound economics tells us to make good investments in the future workforce of New York,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities new York. “DREAMers want nothing more than to develop their talents in this country and State – the only one they know and call home.”

  • Avoid Scams. Get correct information in 17 languages: Call Catholic Charities at the New York State New Americans Hotline, 1-800-566-7636.
  • Click here to read more information about the hotline.
  • Click here to see if you or someone you know is eligible to apply
  • Link to the New York State Childhood Arrival Deferred Action Program website clearinghouse.
  • Please help us spread the word on Facebook and Twitter, hashtag #NYnewamericans

Peter Pan Child Shares Her Gift

Monday, August 13th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Clara Salas, the cheerful voice at the other end of the Catholic Charities NY Information and Referral Help Line, spoke recently about her cloak-and-dagger childhood. It includes brushes with Castro’s Cuba, clandestine intervention by the CIA and critical support from Catholic Charities.

Clara, at age 14, was spirited into the United States in 1961 as part of CIA project code name Operation Peter Pan. The operation flew more than 14,000 Cuban children into the U.S. after rumors spread that Fidel Castro’s Communist government planned to kidnap Cuban sons and daughters from their parents and send them to Soviet military and labor camps.

Similar to many of her fellow “Peter Pan children,” Clara received support from Catholic Charities after she arrived. It paid her tuition and room and board at Catholic high school academies and ensured that her needs were met until her parents finally escaped from Cuba five years later. Since then, Clara has rebuilt her life. A United States citizen since 1971, she was elected executive secretary for Community Board 4 in Queens, sits on the Elmhurst Hospital Community Advisory Board and plans to complete a doctorate degree in social work at Yeshiva University Wurzweiler School of Social Work.

“Life takes strange turns,” Clara said. “Now, at Catholic Charities, I get to give people the guidance and comfort I received when I was a child and first arrived here.”

Please call the Catholic Charities Help line at: 888-744-7900 or click here to learn more.