CMS Weekly Outreach at St. Catherine of Alexandria and Our Lady of Mount Carmel

St Catherine of Alexandria

CMS staff Xiomara Bustamante (on the right) works with parishioner at St. Catherine of Alexandria.

On Sunday, September 14th CMS staff conducted outreach at two different parishes in Queens and Brooklyn. Staff Alexina Delvecchio, Rebecca Rybaltowski, and Xiomara Bustamante attended service at St. Catherine of Alexandria in Brooklyn and after Mass answered questions and conducted consultations for over 20 parishioners. At Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Astoria CMS staff Jennifer Park, Nancy Pardo, and Chris Holtz attended both English and Spanish Mass and were able to provide legal services to over 25 parishioners.  CMS will be attending weekly Masses across Queens and Brooklyn this fall to provide immigration, labor, and tenant rights information and consultations.

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CMS Kick Starts Parish Outreach

OLS community fair photo #1

CMS Outreach Assistant Rebecca Rybaltowski at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish

On September 7th CMS Outreach Assistant Rebecca Rybaltowski attended the Fidelis Community Resource Fair at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Corona. This successful event helped CMS reach out to many people who were interested in immigration matters and learn about the services that CMS provides. Several organizations that partner with CMS, including Faith in NY, NICE, Catholic Charities, New York Family Justice Center, Fidelis, Grameen VidaSana, and Queens Immigrants United were at the event and reached out to over 2,000 parishioners who attended the fair. This fair hosted by Fidelis Health Care helped to increase the scope of knowledge and access to valuable resources and services available to community members.

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CMS Partners with AAANY

AAANY Partnership photo

Staff of CMS and AAANY partner together to provide legal services.

CMS is collaborating with the Arab-American Association of New York (AAANY) to make free legal services more accessible to the Arabic-speaking community in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.  AAANY is a social services organization serving the Arab immigrant community to adjust to their new home in New York.  Their services include ESL and citizenship classes, public benefits eligibility screening, job application and resume assistance, youth programs, and leading advocacy efforts in a variety of campaigns.

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CMS Gears Up for 2014-2015 Community Meetings

Community meeting

Immigrant Tenant Advocacy Program staff members (from left to right) Lorena Lopez, Kenny Minaya, and Mariam Magar.

For more than three years, CMS has sponsored the largest regularly occurring tenants meeting in New York City. We will resume our monthly meetings beginning September 24th and continue through 2014-2015. This year’s community meeting program promises to be impactful and inspiring as we connect community members to important issue campaigns and critical services and build lasting relationships.

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Labor Rights Week

Alice

CMS Staff Attorney Alice Davis discusses the Immigrant Workers’ Rights Program.

On August 21st, the Mexican Consulate hosted a press conference for their annual Labor Rights Week, taking place August 25th through August 29th. CMS Staff Attorney Alice Davis spoke about CMS’ Immigrant Workers’ Rights Program and its role in assisting low wage immigrant workers recover unpaid wages and report health and safety violations in their workplaces. The Immigrant Workers’ Rights Program was founded in 2010 in partnership with the Mexican Consulate and various state and federal agencies. It has since recovered over $400,000 through federal litigation, and complaints sent to the New York State and U.S. Departments of Labor.

Other speakers at the press conference included Ambassador Sandra Fuentes Berain, as well as representatives from the U.S. Department of Labor, the New York State Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the New York City Comptroller’s Office, and the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. The speakers emphasized that all workers have rights, regardless of their immigration status.

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CMS Case Featured on NBC

A recent report by NBC 4 on the increased number of unaccompanied minors arriving in NYC from Central America featured CMS and one of our clients, a 10 year old boy named Carlos.  This story highlights the critical legal services provided by CMS to the most vulnerable immigrants in Brooklyn and Queens.  As explained by CMS staff attorney Jose Leon, these cases are particularly challenging because of limited options for legal relief available to children who are in deportation and removal proceedings.  Our office plays an important role in responding to the needs of young migrants who often seek assistance from their local parish after arriving in the Diocese.  CMS’ network of pastors and lay leaders among the hundreds of Catholic parishes in Brooklyn and Queens serves as unique resource for us as we carry out our mission of serving newcomers.  For more information about our removal defense program, please contact our Brooklyn office at 718 236 3000.  To view the NBC 4 report, click here.

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CMS Continues Chinese Outreach

On Sunday July 13, more than thirty members of the Chinese immigrant community in Sunset Park, Brooklyn attended a presentation on CMS’ legal services programs.  Following the presentation, CMS staff provided free legal consultations to individuals and families in immigration, housing and employment law matters.  This event was part of our continued to effort to increase the visibility and accessibility of our programs throughout the Diocese.  Special thanks to our summer legal interns Mary Dolan and Ying Li, as well as law student volunteer Julina Guo, for helping to organize and staff this event.  Additionally, many thanks to the extraordinary volunteers of St. Rosalia and Our Lady of Perpetual Help parishes and Father Vincentius Do who have provided critical support to this project.

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