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NYC & Catholic Charities Mobilize Monumental Immigration Initiative

Posted on March 1, 2016 by Alice Kenny  |  Share


Photo Credit: Mayors Office of Immigrant Affairs

Mayor Bill de Blasio just announced New York City’s plans to team with Catholic Charities and fellow trusted community organizations to provide free, safe immigration legal help.  Services immigrants need will be provided in communities they call home and in languages they speak.

Dubbed “ActionNYC,” this $7.9 million initiative is the nation’s largest municipality investment and first model of its size to connect outreach, community navigation and legal support for hard-to-reach immigrant populations.  An estimated half a million undocumented plus approximately 700,000 additional New Yorkers eligible to become U.S. citizens face tremendous legal needs.

“New York City’s commitment to our immigrant communities will not waver. While the courts delay executive action and much-needed relief, while some voices may attempt to create hostility toward immigrants, while more than 30 governors tried to resist the resettlement of Syrian refugees, New York City will demonstrate the power and values of our city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We can build the capacity of community-based organizations and legal service providers to ensure that all New Yorkers can come out of the shadows and live their lives freely. This program demonstrates New York City’s commitment to ensuring everyone can live their own American dream.”

This huge endeavor  pulls in many of New York’s most powerful leaders and kicks off quickly. Slated to begin this spring of 2016, Action NYC was created in partnership with the City Council and includes Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Nisha Agarwal, City University of New York Chancellor James Milliken, Public Advocate Tish James, Brooklyn Borouogh President Eric Adams, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Congressmen Joe Crowley and Eliot Engel, State Senators Martin Malave Dilan, Jose Peralta and Daniel Squadron, along with city council members and more. 

ActionNYC will create community navigation hubs at immigrant services organizations including Catholic Charities Community Services and our affiliate, Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Services, Inc.  Here immigrant New Yorkers can receive safe and secure legal screening regarding their immigration legal options, community navigator support to prepare applications, assistance from high-quality lawyers, and connections to relevant services. ActionNYC will also feature rotating legal clinics across all five boroughs.

“One of Catholic Charities' core commitments in New York is to welcome immigrants –be they families seeking to reunify, refugees, the undocumented, or workers – in a way that upholds their dignity and recognizes the value they bring to our communities of work, of family, and of faith, said C. Mario Russell, Esq., Director of Immigrant and Refugee Services at Catholic Charities NY.  “This new initiative, developed in conjunction with the Mayor's Office for Immigrant Affairs, will build on the professionalism, skill, and compassion that Catholic Charities brings to its service with immigrants and represents an exciting, new opportunity to expand on important work that is done in communities throughout New York City.”

Learn more about ActionNYC.