On Monday, June 19th Brooklynites gathered in Founder’s Hall at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights, NY for a public testimony before the Rent Guidelines Board to share their experiences about rent increases and abusive landlords. Tenants were accompanied by housing advocates, organizers, lawyers, and legislators to give a voice to a community that is often ignored. Samantha Lyons, a housing attorney with the Immigrant Tenant Advocacy Program at Catholic Migration Services expressed the need to mobilize the immigrant community so their voices are heard as well.
The Rent Guidelines Board is scheduled to host their final vote at a public hearing on Tuesday, June 27th at Baruch College in Mason Hall. For more information on the vote and to join a rally to the hearing click here.
An undocumented immigrant residing in an apartment complex on Parsons Boulevard in Queens, NY seeks assistance from Catholic Migration and Queens Legal Services after realty company seeks to evict undocumented tenants. The landlord is accused of using scare tactics to encourage neighbors to report suspicious activity to the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement Unit. Posting signs accompanied by tip line numbers, tenants in the largely immigrant community now live in fear. Carlos Ortiz, tenant organizer with Catholic Migration Services shares this unscrupulous approach with NY 1 reporter Ruschell Boone.
Ridgewood resident holds sign while marching to Queens hearing. Photo: Shea Colon
On Monday, June 5th the Rent Guidelines Board hosted their first public hearing in a series of events scheduled to take place throughout the five boroughs. Over 100 tenants accompanied by advocates and organizers with the Rent Justice Coalition marched to the Jamaica Performing Arts Center in Jamaica, Queens to have their voices heard. Those present testified before the board demanding the need for a rent roll back and expressing their concerns with any increase.
Carlos Ortiz, a tenant organizer with Catholic Migration was among those present. He testified and shared his concerns with the Times Ledger.
In an effort to expand how the Church accompanies people, the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development recently launched a new website, migrants-refugees.va “to ensure that those forced to flee are not left behind.” Accessible in 5 languages, the Vatican office is personally directed by Pope Francis and is a direct response to the Holy Father’s concern for the displaced and marginalized across the globe.
Photo Credit: CRS
During the Sixth International Forum on Migration and Peace at the Vatican, February 21 to 22, His Holiness shared four “verbs” when addressing migrants and refugees among us. He challenged leaders and citizens of the world to welcome, protect, promote and integrate our fellow brothers and sisters. In doing so, we are called to discover the “sacred value of hospitality.”
At Catholic Migration Services, our mission is to “welcome the stranger in our midst”, by being committed to empowering underserved immigrant communities in Brooklyn and Queens regardless of religion, ethnicity, national origin, or immigration status. We are proud to connect our community to the Vatican’s newest website as a way to expand our services, education, and advocacy among the many people we assist.
The Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development was originally announced by Pope Francis on August 31, 2016 and began operation January 1st of this year. According to Radio Vaticana, the new Dicastery was created “to better serve the needs of the most vulnerable, including migrants and refugees, in yet another expression of his strong concern for the protection of people on the move.”
Congratulations to the 2017 graduates of Brooklyn Law School and our very own, Very Rev. Patrick J. Keating, Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Migration Services. Fr. Keating delivered the opening invocation and received his Juris Doctorate alongside 399 students during the 116th commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 18th.
Political anchor at NY1 News and a 2005 graduate, Errol Louis, delivered the commencement speech and received an honorary degree. According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, the common theme that carried across everyone’s speech was the responsibility toward community. In the commencement speech, Louis reminded the graduates not to forget their “invisible clients.”
“Remember that you have clients beyond the ones who are paying you,” Louis said. “Justice is your client. Fairness is your client. Honesty and integrity and service are your clients, and they deserve your best effort.”
Yolanda Coca, que en paz descanse, sirvió a sus hermanos con compasión, esperanza y fuerza en una época en que los marginados necesitaban una voz que pudiera luchar por ellos. Fue una activista y líder comunitaria que dedicó su vida al servicio de sus vecinos en Sunset Park, Ridgewood y Bushwick. Muchos de ellos se enfrentaron con la desigualdad en comunidades donde predominaban las familias inmigrantes y de bajos ingresos.
Su trabajo y colaboración con el Centro Scalabrini para familias migrantes y Servicios Católicos de Migración ayudó a expandir los servicios y recursos disponibles a la comunidad.
Foundation Board member Martin Minkowitz, center, presents a grant to David Colodny, Director of Legal Services of Catholic Migration Services, left, and Father Patrick Keating, CEO of Catholic Migration Services. Photo: Nancy Pardo
From The New York Bar Foundation: The New York Bar Foundation recently presented a grant of $2,500 to Catholic Migration Services, Brooklyn. The grant will be used to support their Immigrant Workers’ Rights Program.
“Catholic Migration Services greatly appreciates the New York Bar Foundation’s critical support of our Immigrant Workers’ Rights Program,” states Father Patrick Keating. “The Foundation’s grant will support efforts to help low-wage workers who have fallen victim to wage theft, and to help educate hundreds of other workers about their rights in the workplace, such as their right to receive the minimum wage and overtime, and to work in safe conditions.”
In early 2017, The New York Bar Foundation allocated more than $640,000 in grants to programs across New York State. These grants assist in:
Increasing public understanding of the law
Improving the justice system and the law
Facilitating the delivery of legal services
Enhancing professional competence and ethics
The New York Bar Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the New York State Bar Association. To learn more about The Foundation and how you can support its charitable programs, go to www.tnybf.org, phone 518-487-5651 or email email@example.com.
Catholic Migration Services is honored to host our annual Sunset Reception on Thursday, June 22, 2017 at the Pierrepont House in Brooklyn Heights, NY. As is customary, our attorney’s will share information about each of our program areas, covering immigration, tenant advocacy and workers’ rights.
The event brings together legal professionals seeking to expand their work in the non-profit industry. Be sure to save your spot and fill out the form below.
Presione aquí para la versión en Español Peze la pou tradui nan Kreyol Ayisyen
On February 17, 2017 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released two memos that detailed major changes to the current interior and border enforcement policies. There is still a lot that is unclear at this time and we expect more changes, but wanted to highlight the following priorities and what you can do to be prepared.
The President’s Priorities for Removing Immigrants Present in the United States: In the memos, DHS listed the following categories of immigrants within the country, including some who currently have a lawful status, as priority for removal:
Persons with any criminal conviction(s);
Persons with pending criminal charges;
Persons who have “committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense”;
Persons believed by immigration officers to pose a threat to public safety or national security;
Persons who have a final order of removal;
Persons who have engaged in fraud/ misrepresentation in applications to government, or who have “abused” public benefits (this could include those who have used a fake Social Security Number); and
Those who are undocumented
We are not clear as to who would fall into some of these categories and expect to receive more information over the next couple of months. While this list of priorities does cast a wide net, please keep in mind that the current infrastructure may not allow the administration to significantly increase the rate of arrest/deportation. Additionally, most people still have a right to have their case heard in front of an Immigration Judge.
We are doing our best to keep people informed of policy changes and have been conducting Know Your Rights trainings in various churches and community centers in Brooklyn and Queens.
If you have any questions or concern, please call Catholic Migration Services at (718) 236-3000 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. To speak to our “Immigration Attorney on Call” dial extension 203 between 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. All care encouraged to visit our website for future updates, training sessions and workshops at www.catholicmigration.org.
Trabajadores de Tom Cat Bakery en protesta contra acciones anti-inmigrantes. Foto: Getty Images por medio de El Diario NY
Viernes el 21 de abril, trabajadores de Tom Cat Bakery, una de las panaderías más conocidas en la cuidad organizaron #DayWithoutBread o #UnDíaSinPan junto con Brandworkers, la organización laboral que les une. Era el deseo de los trabajadores que en la cuidad no comer pan como “un gesto de solidaridad y protesta a la política anti-inmigrante”. Los trabajadores están representados por abogados con Servicios Católicos de Migración y el Urban Justice Center-Community Development Project.