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


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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CMS Informs Members of Central Hispanio Cuzcatlan about Tenants Rights

On Tuesday, June 24th CMS' Staff Attorney Kenny Minaya and Community Outreach Coordinator Virginia Thomas attended the second monthly Central Hispanio Cuzcatlan which was held at the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish. Kenny presented information to members about their rights as tenants. (more…)

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CMS and its Housing Coalition Partners Participate in the Rent Guidelines Board’s Public Hearing


Tenants rally before the final vote in Cooper Union Square .

On Monday June 23rd the Rent Guidelines Board voted for a one percent increase on one-year leases and a 2.75 percent on two-year leases . The proposal passed by a 5 to 4 vote. The increases take effect on leases signed after October 1st.

Prior to the vote on Monday, on (more…)

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CMS Informs the Chinese Speaking Parishioners at St.Rosalia’s Church

Chinese Outreach St Rosalia #1On Sunday, June 15 CMS attorneys, staff and legal interns led an informational session for the Chinese speaking community of St. Rosalia’s church in Brooklyn. Parishioners learned about CMS’ 3 legal services and they learned about how the Chinese speaking community can access our free legal services. (more…)

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