Waving signs and chanting slogans, thousands of New Yorkers added their voices Wednesday to a massive national mobilization for immigration reform. They included Oberos Unidos de Yonkers, day laborers assisted by Catholic Charities, who rallied in White Plains. Residents also took part in candlelight vigils in Rockland and Putnam Counties, marched in Newburgh and joined busloads that wound their way from New York City and the Hudson Valley to Washington, D.C. Together they united with tens of thousands of people who met on the Capital lawn to insist that the time for change is now.
“Catholic Charities is both proud and privileged to work with newcomers who contribute to the growth and well-being of this country, the one they call home,” Catholic Charities Executive Monsignor Sullivan said yesterday. “We join immigrants and advocates who will make this case in Washington D.C. and in other parts of the country at a massive mobilization and faith community vigil for citizenship, and fair and humane legal immigration opportunities.”
Wednesday’s outdoor rallies took place as a bipartisan group of senators worked inside the Capital. Known as the “Gang of Eight,” they are negotiating a bill aimed at securing the border, tapping foreign workers for critically needed jobs and creating a path to citizenship.
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.
For example, Catholic Charities works with Obreros Unidos de Yonkers, a group of more than 300 day laborers in Yonkers. Together, we educate workers regarding employment rights and responsibilities to prevent exploitation and workplace abuse. We also assist in integrating workers into society and provide local resources to assist them in this process.
We do this by:
- Hosting workshops and trainings on worker rights, safety in the workplace, basics of immigration and other topics as needed
- Issuing membership cards with identifying information
- Providing office and meeting space and administrative support for workers
- Assisting in the collection of unpaid wages, access to healthcare services, emergency food, English as a Second Language programs and computer classes.
- Facilitating conversations with local business owners, police elected officials and the community.
Looking for more information about Obreros Unidos de Yonkers?
Call (914) 375-6729/48 for more information on or visit the office at St. Peter’s Church basement, 91 Ludlow Street, Yonkers, NY 10705.
Call the Catholic Charities Help Line — (888) 744-7900 — for more help finding the services you need.