Posts Tagged ‘New Americans Hotline’

Gender & Justice – in the Age of Mass Incarceration

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

gender-and-justice-685

By Alice Kenny

Hard to believe – yet true. American women make up only 4.5 percent of women in the world.

Yet they represent nearly 33-percent of the world’s female prisoners!
Worse still, the number is growing in part because of the mass detainment of impoverished and persecuted immigrant women and girls who fled to the U.S. for safety.

“Detained women are already a vulnerable population; detained children, even more so,” says Catholic Charities Immigration Staff Attorney Lorilei Williams who spoke at a Gender and Justice symposium held last week at Vera Institute in downtown Manhattan. “Many detained immigrants have no criminal history, and yet they are detained in a system that is not subject to rigorous review.”

At Catholic Charities we help girls and women who fled gangs, rapes and violence that too often dominate their homelands.

Do you need immigration help?

Call our New York State New Americans Hotline operated by Catholic Charities.

1-212-419-3737 or 1-800-566-7636 (Toll-free in NYS)

Celebrating World Refugee Day 2015

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

By Kelly Agnew-Barajas
Director of Refugee Resettlement at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York

Staff, interns and volunteers from Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement were joined by clients new and old to celebrate World Refugee Day last Friday, June 12. Also joining them were staff and clients from fellow immigration service providers including the International Rescue Committee, CAMBA, Refugee and Immigrant Fund, and Safe Horizon.

The event was held at the Friends Meeting house in Manhattan on a hot summer afternoon. Although World Refugee Day is officially on June 20th, the celebration was scheduled earlier to allow Muslims who will be fasting during Ramadan (starting June 17th) to join in the celebration.

Catholic Charities staff and interns set up a photo booth with props and signs.  They also provided sidewalk chalk for kids to draw with. These were a big hit.

The New Americans Hotline that provides information and referrals for immigration questions over the phone  also shared resources and materials.

Everyone enjoyed homemade classic Cuban ropa vieja, Colombian ceviche, Mexican flan, cool watermelon and tons of snacks.

Tsering Dolkar,  an asylee client who was helped by Catholic Charities in 2009, came as a representative of her whole nine person family.

She described how Catholic Charities helped to provide a foundation of support and knowledge which has allowed her and her whole family to thrive. She also expressed profound gratitude for setting her and her family on the right path.

How to Fight Confusion on Immigration Reform

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

driptychBy Alice Kenny

As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie joined three governors in filing a brief on Monday, March 23, 2015 to push back against President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, Catholic Charities teamed with nonprofit providers to continue to push forward, informing those who could benefit from the President’s plan about the ins and outs of administrative relief.

Immigration attorneys, social  workers  and fellow experts met with 300 people in the heavily Hispanic community of Port Chester in Westchester County at the Don Bosco Workers Community Center.

During the meeting Catholic Charities’ legal team provided information about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and Expanded DACA program.

The attorneys also cautioned attendees to stay away from individuals such as “notaries” who may charge high fees for fabricated applications for immigration status.

With so much conflict in the press and on the ground it’s easy to get confused.

Do you have immigration questions?

Call the Catholic Charities operated New Americans Hotline at
1 (800) 566-7636(NYS)  (212) 413–3737 (other states).

 

 

Don’t Let a Judge’s Temporary Stay Get in Your Way: PREPARE NOW for Immigration Reform

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

By Alice Kenny

You know the drill; the back and forth on immigration reform.

Don’t let it get in your way.

This time it was a Texas Judge Andrew Hanen’s recent ruling that put a temporary halt on President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration.

So instead of starting this month, changes in U.S. law to help immigrant parents, children, spouses, skilled workers will not kick off until later this year.

Get ready now!

Don’t be scammed: Do NOT give anyone money to help you in advance with an application!

Check out these flyers in multiple languages to learn what YOU need to know!

 Spanish · French · Korean  · Russian · Hindu

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

  • For more information,
  • Referral to a nonprofit legal service provider,
  • Community presentations
  • To report schemes and attempts to defraud immigrants

Human Trafficking: Don’t Look the Other Way

Friday, February 6th, 2015

By Alice Kenny

Join us this Sunday, February 8, as we raise awareness to this horror during the first International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking.

Where is the brother and sister whom you are killing each day in clandestine warehouses, in rings of prostitution, in children used for begging, in exploiting undocumented labor,” says Pope Francis.  “Let us not look the other way.  There is greater complicity than we think.  The issue involves everyone!”

Catholic Charities helps victims who have undergone the horrendous humiliation of human trafficking regain their dignity.  We provide legal and social services.  And we run Dignity of Work, an initiative of the Anti-Trafficking Program of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, that helps new arrivals train for and land jobs to support themselves and their families.

Do you need help?  Call our New York State (NYS) New Americans Hotline: 1-212-419-3737 or 1-800-566-7636 (Toll-free in NYS).

Learn more and join us.

Catholic Charities Statement on President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration

Friday, November 21st, 2014
07_StCatholic Charities, along with Catholic parishes and schools has long welcomed immigrants to our country and most especially to New York. We have helped new Americans adapt to their new home with a sense of dignity and respect. Given this experience, we have been at the forefront of advocating for legislation that  comprehensively reforms a broken immigration system to create fair and humane resettlement and integration for those coming to our country. Because of this, we have been saddened again and again by the failure of Congress to pass such critically needed legislation.In light of this failure, we are encouraged by President Obama’s executive action that deals with one part of immigration reform that is at the heart of Catholic Charities advocacy – the unity of the family.  By this order, millions of children who are citizens or permanent legal residents of the United States will be protected from suddenly having their parents taken from them and deported. Vulnerability and fear is reduced for millions by this action.  Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York highlighted this point from his own personal experience:

“Let me tell you a tale of two Sundays that I personally witnessed. The first Sunday a family of four was praying in my parish church. The next Sunday it was a family of three. The father and breadwinner was deported for a minor infraction that occurred almost a decade earlier.  The wife and mother was alone and the children now without their father.  No one benefited – not the family and not the nation.”  An executive action might have protected the unity and ensured the stability of this family.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York stands ready to help eligible immigrants respond to this new opportunity.  We will provide accurate and timely information through our New Americans Hotline.  We will also assist immigrants to comply with the provisions of this executive order so they can obtain the new protections and authorizations it affords.

While we are positive about the protections afforded vulnerable families by this executive order, there is undoubtedly more work to be done.  We continue to maintain that comprehensive immigration reform is necessary and thus advocating for such will be an ongoing part of Catholic Charities’ efforts.

Looking for immigration assistance?  Call us at the New York State (NYS) New Americans Hotline: 1-800-566-7636 (Toll-free in NYS)

Help for Custodians of Immigrant Children

Monday, October 27th, 2014

GOSHEN – Catholic Charities Community Services hosted a special information session to discuss the legal orientation, concerns, and obligations for individuals who are serving as custodians of unaccompanied alien children,” reports the Hudson Valley Press.

The free program was held at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center and open to anyone looking to learn more about the legal remedies and options available to undocumented immigrant minors and their custodians…

“Through this program, Catholic Charities and our program partners hope to clear up some of the confusion and make the transition easier for both the youth and the custodians who are responsible for them,” said Dr. Dean Scher, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County.

Topics covered included navigating the immigration court process, legal remedies, and options for undocumented immigrant minors and their custodians. Attendees were also provided with information about the broad spectrum of human service programs available through Catholic Charities in Orange County and the greater Hudson Valley region, including substance abuse treatment and prevention, case management, parish food pantries, resource exchange, and the housing resource center.

Read the full story in the Hudson Valley Press.

Do you need immigration help?

  • Call The New York State New Americans Hotline administered by Catholic Charities at 1-800-566-7636.
  • The national LOPC (Legal Orientation for Parents and Custodians) Children’s Call Center at 1-888-996-3848 (9 am – 8 pm weekdays). This line is staffed by Spanish-speaking counselors.

Information and assistance is also available at all Catholic Charities’ offices including our Office for New Americans located within the Newburgh Armory Unity Center at 321 S William Street, Newburgh.

A Day on a New York City “Rocket Docket”

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

“The minors and their guardians sit in the fluorescent-lit room and stare at the sketch on the whiteboard,” reports the Latin America News Dispatch.

The image represents a map of Mexico and the U.S. separated by a line: the border. Elvis Garcia Callejas, a case manager with Catholic Charities, presides over the information session.

“So, you all crossed that line and that’s why you’re sitting here, right?” Callejas asks the group. A few sheepishly smile while others are busy texting on their phones.

A native of Honduras, Callejas was an undocumented minor himself before gaining citizenship. He understands the trauma many of the people in front of him experienced as well as the legal options available. In his rapid-fire Spanish presentation peppered with plenty of jokes, Callejas aims to provide the minors with necessary information while also putting them at ease before their impending deportation hearings.

At one point Callejas likens immigration officers to iguanas because of their green uniforms. At another, he explains how the inside of a courtroom looks like a church and is “just as boring.” By the end of the session minors and their guardians are chuckling along. Not only does Callejas speak the vernacular, but he is well rehearsed: he holds an identical session weekly at 26 Federal Plaza — the building that houses New York City’s immigration court — just one hour before minors are to appear before a judge.

 

Catholic Charities is just one of the organizations in New York City that has taken advantage of so-called “rocket docket” days, in which judges hold initial hearings for many minors simultaneously, on multiple days each week. The expedited court process is just one of President Barack Obama’s strategies to handle the surge of unaccompanied minors in the country and the subsequent backlog of immigration cases.

Read the full story in Latin America News Dispatch.

Do you need immigration help?  Call our New Americans Hotline at 800-566-7636.

Scam Artists Are Target of Immigration Initiative

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

(L-R) State Secretary of State Cesar Perales, Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo, NY Immigration Coation Executive Director Steven Choi and Catholic Charities Community Services Director Beatriz Diaz Taveras

“Unethical lawyers and other scam artists that prey on New York’s immigrant community have been put on notice. The state has the means to keep tabs on them and will come down hard on anyone attempting to defraud or exploit this particularly vulnerable population,” writes Ron Lajoie in a recent Catholic New York article.

New York State’s Office for New Americans, in cooperation with a coalition of partners, including Catholic Charities, rolled out a new comprehensive initiative at a press conference at the new headquarters of Catholic Charities’ Division of Immigration and Refugee Services in Lower Manhattan Sept. 18 to combat fraud against immigrants across New York State. The initiative follows legislation recently signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo mandating stricter requirements for immigration assistance providers and tougher penalties for those who scam the system.

‘We’ve got to deliver the message that if you take advantage of immigrants it’s a crime. It’s a serious crime and we are going to prosecute you,’said New York Secretary of State Cesar Perales. ‘We’re taking proactive steps and empowering our immigrant communities through legitimate services to create a safe and fair economic landscape that will benefit every New Yorker.’

A main component of the new initiative will be the expansion of the New York State New Americans Hotline—800-566-7636—operated by Catholic Charities to serve as a resource to coordinate immigration fraud complaints as well as to offer service referrals…

Beatriz Diaz Taveras, executive director of Catholic Charities Community Services, told CNY as many as 10 percent of the calls coming into the hotline deal with fraud issues…

‘Now that we have this campaign and people are seeing it on the subways and in newspapers, we have over 200 calls a month,’ Ms. Diaz Taveras said. ‘And folks are calling about attorneys who have taken their money, who have not provided services, notarios that they have gone to that have given incorrect information. And they are asking how can they be helped and what recourse do they have?’

Children Need High-Quality Health Care Regardless of Citizenship

Monday, July 7th, 2014

By Irwin Redlener

June 25, 2014

The justified outrage over detained minors in California, Oklahoma and Texas has focused the nation’s attention on what is only the tip of the iceberg. While the number of apprehended, unaccompanied Central American children could reach 90,000 this year, an estimated 1 million undocumented children already live among us.

But this is not just a Southwestern story. In New York and other cities with large immigrant communities, newly arrived children are desperate for medical attention, legal services, and help finding family members.

Ask pediatrician Alan Shapiro, medical director of Children’s Health Fund’s Montefiore-based medical programs for highly disadvantaged kids in New York City. In cooperation with Catholic Charities New York, he recently co-founded Terra Firma, an innovative medical-legal partnership designed to meet the complex medical, psycho-social, and legal needs of unaccompanied minors. “Their life experience is marked by multiple traumas in their home countries, on their journey north and here in the U.S.,” Shapiro explains. “As a society, it is our responsibility to heal them, not to compound the trauma.”

“Tomás,” a teenage boy participating in a support group at Terra Firma’s South Bronx clinic, recently showed Shapiro a photo of a relative who had been killed as punishment for not joining a Central American gang. When the pediatrician asked who else has seen anyone killed, all hands were raised. Needless to say, this is part of a humanitarian crisis rooted in severe international poverty.

Predictably, Tomás suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder, which in his case manifested as depression, frequent nightmares and insomnia. But thanks to the care he (and the other kids lucky enough to have found Terra Firma) is receiving, Tomas is now going to school, learning English, and working.

Read the full story in USA Today.

Do you or someone you know need immigration help?

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

Click here to learn more.