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Administrative Assistant

 

 

 

JOB ANNOUNCEMENT – ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Catholic Migration Services (“CMS”), a nonprofit provider of legal services and affiliated agency of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, is seeking a full-time Administrative Assistant.  CMS provides free legal services to low-income immigrants residing in Brooklyn and Queens in the areas of immigration, housing and employment law.  More information about our organization and our work is available at www.catholicmigration.org.

The Administrative Assistant will provide critical administrative support to ensure that our two office locations are well organized and operating smoothly.  This is for a full-time position based in our Brooklyn office (near Borough Hall), but the Administrative Assistant will be required to periodically work from our Queens office (currently in Sunnyside). As of September 6th, CMS staff will work three days in the office and two days remotely. The Administrative Assistant must be punctual, well organized, and have the capacity to prioritize and manage multiple tasks.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Day-to-day office management of facilities, equipment/supply acquisition and maintenance.
  • Maintain and manage relationships with vendors and other service providers.
  • Troubleshoot minor IT/computer/program/printer/phone/network issues.
  • Maintain organizational calendar and logistics for meetings and rooms.
  • Provide various assistance for other programs, as needed, including data entry, making appointments, and mailing.
  • Provide backup assistance to reception. Answer and manage phone calls, provide appropriate requested information to visitors or staff.
  • Provide administrative support for fundraising events and other special events.
  • Monitor incoming and outgoing mail; assist with processing incoming mail; receive and sign for mail/packages.
  • Assist in processing invoices, past due accounts, deposits, and managing acknowledgment letters.
  • Maintain filing system in all our offices as well as offsite.

Qualifications:

  • Minimum of 4 years relevant experience.
  • Computer proficiency; Working knowledge of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint); Experience with internet research.
  • Ability and experience working with clients from diverse backgrounds and communities.
  • Excellent communication and organizational skills.
  • College Graduate preferred (minimum of High School diploma); and
  • Spanish or Haitian Kreyol proficiency preferred.

Diversity and Non-Discrimination Policy:
CMS values workplace diversity and welcomes applicants and employees of all backgrounds. CMS strives to create a positive, supportive, and inclusive work environment for all staff.  CMS makes all employment decisions without regard to any applicant’s or employee’s protected characteristics, including their race, religion, color, national origin, immigration status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, arrest or conviction record, or marital status.

Salary and Benefits
CMS offers a very competitive salary and benefits package that includes medical, dental and vision insurance coverage, transit benefits, Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and a 403(b) retirement plan including employer contribution.  We offer generous leave policies, including four weeks paid vacation, four paid personal days, fourteen paid holidays and the week off between Christmas and New Year’s Days, inclusive.

Union Representation
This is a bargaining unit position represented for collective bargaining purposes by the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW, Local 2325.

Application Instructions:
This position is available immediately, and applications will be considered on a rolling basis.  To apply, email a cover letter and resume to Erin Fitzgerald, Operations Coordinator, at efitzgerald@catholicmigration.org.  Please include “Administrative Assistant Application” in the subject line.


Download this job announcement as a pdf: Administrative Assistant

Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens Legal Information Session for Migrants/Asylum Seekers

Legal Information Session for Migrants and Asylum Seekers

Photo: Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens

August 29, 2022
By Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens

Yesterday, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, Catholic Migration Services, and the St. Charles Borromeo Parishioner volunteers welcomed over 140 migrants and asylum seekers at an information session and lunch at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Downtown Brooklyn. Since July, over 220 asylum seekers have come to Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens Community Outreach Center in Brooklyn seeking assistance. To welcome them, provide support, and help them settle in further, we teamed up with Catholic Migration Services for a Spanish-language informational session that addressed deportation, ICE, change of address and applying for Asylee status.

Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens also provided small produce boxes with fresh fruit, loaves of bread, toiletry/food bags, COVID test kits, socks, masks and other necessities. The St. Charles Borromeo volunteers donated and served lunch for the attendees. Additional Catholic Charities social service staff were in attendance with information and resources.

Media Coverage:

For over 124 years, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, through its social services arm, Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services, Inc., has been providing quality social services to the neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens and currently offers 160-plus programs and services for children, youth, adults, older adults, and those struggling with mental illness. Since 1975, Catholic Charities Progress of Peoples Development Corporation, the affordable housing developer of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, has been transforming vacant land and buildings into affordable housing units and transforming the lives of individuals and families, and completed more than 4,450 units with supportive services for seniors, families, veterans and the formerly homeless. Since the pandemic began, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens has provided much-needed food packages and services at 56 Catholic Charities parish-based food pantries and has distributed over $8.5 million in food assistance. Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens continues to deliver crucial mental health counseling, housing services, family services and early childhood education and COVID vaccines at a variety of locations. For more information, please visit www.ccbq.org.


Read the original news post by Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens: Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens Legal Information Session for Migrants/Asylum Seekers

PRESS CLIP: Mayor Adams furious after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent dozens of migrants to New York City against their will

AUGUST 5, 2022 / 11:25 PM / CBS NEW YORK
BY MARCIA KRAMER, ALI BAUMAN

NEW YORK — A red state, blue state border war has erupted after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent dozens of migrants to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, taking advantage of New York City’s right to shelter law as he fights with President Joe Biden over immigration policy.

Mayor Eric Adams is furious, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Friday.

The Port Authority Bus Terminal became the scene of the crime – what city officials think is a political crime by Abbott.

The Texas governor bused over 40 migrants – men, women and children – to New York City, his new drop-off location, to remove them from border towns in a challenge to the Biden administration’s open border policies.

“Governor Greg Abbott is continuing to play with the lives of human beings. We think this is cruel, it’s disgusting and it’s pure cowardice,” said Manuel Castro, commissioner of the mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

A spokesperson for Adams called the move “an embarrassing stain on the state of Texas,” but stressed that as a right to shelter city, he would welcome the asylum seekers with open arms.

In a statement, Adams’ press secretary Fabien Levy said, “… but we are asking for resources to help do so. We need Washington, D.C.’s assistance in dealing with the cruel political games being played by inept politicians like the governor of Texas.”

Abbott has been busing migrants to Washington, D.C. but said New York City will be a new location.

“New York City is the ideal destination for these migrants, who can receive the abundance of city services and housing that Mayor Eric Adams has boasted about within in the sanctuary city. I hope he follows through on his promise of welcoming all migrants with open arms so that our overrun and overwhelmed border towns can find relief,” Abbott said in a statement.

Castro said some of the migrants were confused to arrive in the Big Apple and relief workers who met the buses said many had no idea they were coming to New York City.

“I spoke to another family who thought were coming to Maryland, and in fact, their paperwork from immigration says that they were going to these destinations, but they were lied to in Texas and now they’re being sent to New York City,” Castro said.

“Some of them weren’t even supposed to be in New York. I mean there’s people going to Portland, Oregon. We had to get them tickets to North Carolina, Washington, D.C. and all sorts of other places. So they were kind of inappropriately brought to New York,” said relief worker Andrea Garbarini.

Kathryn Kliff, a legal aid attorney, said she’s also worried that Abbott sent people here against their will.

“By their own choice, have endured horrific things before they got here and this is just an additional trauma to be sent somewhere that’s not where you want to be,” Kliff said.

CBS2’s Ali Bauman spoke with a 44-year-old single father of three from Venezuela who wants to stay anonymous because he fears for his safety.

He has been staying in Queens with his three sons since they arrived a few days ago.

In Spanish, he spoke about their journey.

“I spent five days in the jungle from Colombia to Panama,” he said. “I got robbed, all my food and money was taken, so my kids and I spent two days in the jungle with no food.”

Eventually, they made it to Texas.

“This charity in Texas sent us a voucher so we could fly from Texas to Chicago to New York,” he said.

He added he feels blessed to have shelter, food and fresh clothing here, and he and his children say they’re excited about the future.

This father is one of the 4,000 migrants seeking asylum who have come to New York City this summer.

Adams, meanwhile, is now turning to the federal government for more resources.

“We already have a housing crisis. Help us here because not only it’s housing, it’s translation services, it’s education, it is food,” he said.

The city is helped by nonprofits like Catholic Migration Services in Brooklyn, which provides legal services.

“We have the knowledge to help them. We just need more resources to be able to,” said Raluca Oncioiu, an attorney with Catholic Migration Services’ immigration program.

She says they’re now receiving hearing notices for immigration court for people who are not their clients and they cannot contact.

“A number of them have told us that it was the officers at the border who put the address on the papers,” she said. “Processes that have been put in place to ensure that people have their day in court, that they can actually seek asylum, those processes are being bypassed.”

The city says it is increasing its capacities across the board for additional beds in the shelter system, as well as interpreters and legal services.

Legal Aid is asking Adams and Castro to provide a plan for addressing the needs of the migrants who have arrived here.


Read the original story on CBS News New York: Mayor Adams furious after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent dozens of migrants to New York City against their will

Staff Attorney – Housing Unit

 

 

 

JOB ANNOUNCEMENT: STAFF ATTORNEY – HOUSING UNIT

About Catholic Migration Services:
Catholic Migration Services (“CMS”), an affiliated agency of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, provides high quality free legal services, community education, and advocacy for low-income immigrants residing in Brooklyn and Queens, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, or immigration status. CMS assists individuals with their immigration, housing, and employment legal needs. CMS is committed to “welcoming the stranger in our midst” by serving and working alongside underserved immigrant communities to advance equality and social justice in an ever-changing landscape.

The Tenant Advocacy Program assists Queens residents on a wide-range of legal matters, provides know-your-rights education and organizes tenants to assert their rights and advocate for better housing laws. The attorney will provide legal representation for individual tenants and tenant groups in Queens, and will collaborate with CMS’ tenant organizers, as well as with attorneys and staff from the other CMS programs to ensure that clients receive holistic legal services.

The attorney will be based in our Sunnyside, Queens office. As of September 6th, CMS staff will work three days in the office and two days remotely until further notice.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
• Represent clients in housing-related litigation matters, including but not limited to individual and group cases, such as nonpayment proceedings, holdover proceedings and HP actions in Housing Court; administrative proceedings at DHCR and the New York City Commission on Human Rights; and Article 78 proceedings in Supreme Court;
• Do intake and provide legal advice to tenants we are unable to represent;
• Work with CMS’ organizers to plan our monthly community meetings, and to provide legal services in collaboration with our tenant organizing efforts;
• Assist in community outreach and education efforts related to housing legal services;
• Assist in planning and implementation of strategic projects related to housing legal services;
• Manage caseload and maintain client files in good working order. Maintain and update case list and client and case information in case management database; and
• Participate in staff meetings and case reviews.

Qualifications:
• Admission to the New York State Bar;
• At least 2 years of previous experience practicing in housing law preferred;
• Strong commitment to social and economic justice, and community empowerment;
• Experience as a community organizer, or working with community organizers, is preferred;
• Ability to regularly travel to Queens Housing Court and community events;
• Excellent written, oral and analytical skills;
• Competency in one or more foreign languages commonly spoken in Queens is preferred;
• Excellent organizational skills;
• Basic computer skills;
• Demonstrated ability to take initiative and work independently; and
• Ability and experience working with clients from diverse backgrounds and communities.

Diversity and Non-Discrimination Policy:
Catholic Migration Services values workplace diversity and welcomes applicants and employees of all backgrounds. CMS strives to create a positive, supportive, and inclusive work environment for all staff. CMS makes all employment decisions without regard to any applicant’s or employee’s protected characteristics, including their race, religion, color, national origin, immigration status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, arrest conviction record, or marital status.

Salary and Benefits:
Salary is on a union scale based on years of experience. The salary range for an attorney with two to six years of experience is $72,864.72 to $82,212. CMS offers a very competitive benefits package that includes medical, dental and vision insurance coverage, transit benefits, Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and a 403(b) retirement plan including employer contribution. We offer generous leave policies, including four weeks paid vacation, four paid personal days, fourteen paid holidays and the week off between Christmas and New Year’s Days, inclusive.

Union Representation:
This is a bargaining unit position represented for collective bargaining purposes by the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW, Local 2325.

Application Instructions:
Applications will be accepted immediately and will be considered on a rolling basis. Interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume, a writing sample, and a list of three professional references to Jonathan Cohen, Managing Attorney, at jcohen@catholicmigration.org.


Download this job announcement as a pdf: Staff Attorney – Housing Unit

Paralegal – Employment Unit

 

 

 

JOB ANNOUNCEMENT: PARALEGAL – EMPLOYMENT UNIT 

About Catholic Migration Services:
Catholic Migration Services (“CMS”), an affiliated agency of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, provides high quality free legal services, community education, and advocacy for low-income immigrants residing in Brooklyn and Queens, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, or immigration status. CMS assists individuals with their immigration, housing, and employment legal needs. CMS is committed to “welcoming the stranger in our midst” by serving and working alongside underserved immigrant communities to advance equality and social justice in an ever-changing landscape.

Our Employment Unit seeks a full-time, highly motivated, and passionate paralegal to join our team. This is for a full-time position in our Sunnyside, Queens office. As of September 6th, CMS staff will work three days in office and two days remotely until further notice. The paralegal will support the work of our Employment Unit, which provides low-wage workers with advice and representation on a wide range of employment matters, including wage theft, discrimination, unemployment insurance, paid leave and workplace injuries.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
• Conducting meetings with clients and potential clients to gather information and assist CMS attorneys in assessing potential legal claims;
• Copying, scanning, and otherwise assisting attorneys in the preparation of court filings, administrative agency filings, and maintaining case files;
• Interpreting CMS attorney-client communications and translating documents from English to Spanish, and Spanish to English;
• Data entry in CMS’ client database to keep CMS client records updated;
• Filing legal papers with courts and administrative agencies;
• Serving legal papers on employers and witnesses;
• Assisting at outreach and educational events; and
• Providing additional support as needed.

Qualifications:
• Prior or related experience, or a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree, preferred;
• Demonstrated commitment to public interest work;
• Excellent written and oral communication skills;
• Fluency in Spanish required;
• Excellent organizational and time-management skills;
• Basic computer skills;
• Demonstrated ability to take initiative and work independently; and
• Ability to work as part of a team.

Diversity and Non-Discrimination Policy:
Catholic Migration Services values workplace diversity and welcomes applicants and employees of all backgrounds. CMS strives to create a positive, supportive, and inclusive work environment for all staff. CMS makes all employment decisions without regard to any applicant’s or employee’s protected characteristics, including their race, religion, color, national origin, immigration status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, arrest conviction record, or marital status.

Salary and Benefits:
Salary is on a union scale based on years of experience. The salary range for a paralegal with one to six years of experience is $48,960.00 to $55,080,00. CMS offers a very competitive benefits package that includes medical, dental and vision insurance coverage, transit benefits, Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and a 403(b) retirement plan including employer contribution. We offer generous leave policies, including four weeks paid vacation, four paid personal days, fourteen paid holidays and the week off between Christmas and New Year’s Days, inclusive.
Union Representation: This is a bargaining unit position represented for collective bargaining purposes by the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW, Local 2325.

Application Instructions:
Applications will be accepted immediately and will be considered on a rolling basis. Interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume, and list of three professional references to Alice Davis, Supervising Attorney, at adavis@catholicmigration.org. Please include “Paralegal, Employment Unit” in the subject line.


Download this job announcement as a pdf: Paralegal – Employment Unit

Staff Attorney – Employment Unit

 

 

 

JOB ANNOUNCEMENT: STAFF ATTORNEY – EMPLOYMENT UNIT

About Catholic Migration Services:
Catholic Migration Services (“CMS”), an affiliated agency of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, provides high quality free legal services, community education, and advocacy for low-income immigrants residing in Brooklyn and Queens, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, or immigration status. CMS assists individuals with their immigration, housing, and employment legal needs. CMS is committed to “welcoming the stranger in our midst” by serving and working alongside underserved immigrant communities to advance equality and social justice in an ever-changing landscape.

Our Employment Unit seeks a full-time, highly motivated, and passionate employment attorney to join our team. This is for a full-time position in our Sunnyside, Queens office. As of September 6th, CMS staff will work three days in office and two days remotely until further notice. The attorney will litigate cases in New York state and federal courts on behalf of low-wage workers primarily for minimum wage and overtime violations, file complaints before New York and federal administrative agencies, advise workers at legal clinics; and conduct know-your-rights workshops at community-based organizations.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
• Advise and represent workers (individuals and groups) before state and federal courts, and administrative agencies;
• Counsel clients at legal clinics and workshops;
• Lead Know-Your-Rights type presentations at community sites;
• Participate in advocacy efforts – primarily at the local and state levels – to influence legislative or administrative bodies on matters impacting low-wage workers;
• Assist in outreach; and
• Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications:
• Admission to the New York State Bar;
• At least two years of relevant experience (i.e, clerkship, litigation, representing low income or immigrant clients)
• Demonstrated commitment to public interest work;
• Ability to coordinate and collaborate successfully with other groups and organizations;
• Excellent written, oral and analytical skills;
• Proficiency in languages other than English is strongly preferred but not required;
• Excellent organizational skills;
• Demonstrated ability to take initiative and work independently; and
• Ability and experience working with clients from diverse backgrounds and communities.

Diversity and Non-Discrimination Policy:
Catholic Migration Services values workplace diversity and welcomes applicants and employees of all backgrounds. CMS strives to create a positive, supportive, and inclusive work environment for all staff. CMS makes all employment decisions without regard to any applicant’s or employee’s protected characteristics, including their race, religion, color, national origin, immigration status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, arrest conviction record, or marital status.

Salary and Benefits:
Salary is on a union scale based on years of experience. The salary range for an attorney with two to six years of experience is $72,864.72 to $82,212. CMS offers a very competitive benefits package that includes medical, dental and vision insurance coverage, transit benefits, Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and a 403(b) retirement plan including employer contribution. We offer generous leave policies, including four weeks paid vacation, four paid personal days, fourteen paid holidays and the week off between Christmas and New Year’s Days, inclusive.

Union Representation:
This is a bargaining unit position represented for collective bargaining purposes by the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW, Local 2325.

Application Instructions:
Applications will be accepted immediately and will be considered on a rolling basis. Interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume, and list of three professional references to: Magdalena Barbosa, Director of Legal Services, at mbarbosa@catholicmigration.org. Please include “Staff Attorney, Employment Unit” in the subject line.


Download this job announcement as a pdf: Staff Attorney – Employment Unit

Community Organizer – Housing

 

 

 

JOB ANNOUNCEMENT: COMMUNITY ORGANIZER – HOUSING

ABOUT CATHOLIC MIGRATION SERVICES:
Catholic Migration Services (“CMS”), an affiliated agency of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, provides high quality free legal services, community education, and advocacy for low- income immigrants residing in Brooklyn and Queens, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, or immigration status. CMS assists individuals with their immigration, housing, and employment legal needs. CMS is committed to “welcoming the stranger in our midst” by serving and working alongside underserved immigrant communities to advance equality and social justice in an ever-changing landscape.

POSITION:
CMS seeks a full-time, highly motivated, experienced, and passionate community organizer to join our dynamic team. The community organizer will work with the Right to Counsel coalition, a tenant led coalition made up of organizers, advocates, legal services organizations, to level the playing field in housing court, build tenant power and stop the eviction crisis. In August of 2017, the Right to Counsel coalition won a landmark victory making NYC the first city in the nation to establish a Right to Counsel for low-income tenants facing eviction. The community organizer will report to the Managing Attorney of the Housing team. The Catholic Migration Services office is currently working a hybrid work schedule with some days in-office (this full- time position will be based in our Queens office) and some days from home.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
• Coordinate monthly community meetings for tenants;
• Lead Know Your Rights presentations;
• Conduct outreach, i.e. door-knocking and virtual outreach to tenants;
• Help form and support Tenant Associations;
• Work collaboratively with members of the legal team;
• Work with Right to Counsel coalition to advocate for city- and state-wide change;
• Support leadership development in Tenant Association and campaign spaces;
• Conduct outreach and participate in coalition and campaign meetings, retreats, actions and events, and
• Create outreach and informational materials as needed.

QUALIFICATIONS:
• Minimum of 2-3 years of experience in tenant organizing and base-building or working in coalition on a campaign is required;
• Excellent interpersonal and problem solving skills;
• Fluency in Spanish is required;
• Familiarity with Microsoft Word and Excel and ability to learn other software programs;
• Willingness to work some evenings and weekends;
• Ability to travel throughout New York City and Albany;
• Demonstrated ability to take initiative and work independently as well as collaboratively in a team setting; and
• Experience working with individuals from diverse backgrounds and communities to bring them together to build on common goals.

DIVERSITY AND NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY:
CMS strives to create a positive, supportive, and inclusive work environment for all staff. CMS strives to create a positive, supportive, and inclusive work environment for all staff. CMS makes all employment decisions without regard to any applicant’s or employee’s protected characteristics, including their race, religion, color, national origin, immigration status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, arrest conviction record, or marital status.

SALARY AND BENEFITS:
Salary is on a union scale based on years of experience. The salary range for an organizer with three to five years of experience is $50,745 to $53,805. CMS offers a very competitive benefits package that includes medical, dental and vision insurance coverage, transit benefits, Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and a 403(b) retirement plan including employer contribution. We offer generous leave policies, including four weeks paid vacation, four paid personal days, fourteen paid holidays and the week off between Christmas and New Year’s Days, inclusive.

UNION REPRESENTATION:
This is a bargaining unit position represented for collective bargaining purposes by the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW, Local 2325.

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:
Applications will be accepted immediately and will be considered on a rolling basis. Interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume, and a list of three professional references to: Jonathan Cohen, Managing Attorney, at jcohen@catholicmigration.org. Please include “Community Organizer Application” in the subject line.


Download this job announcement as a pdf: Community Organizer – Housing

PRESS CLIP: Aplicar por la ciudadanía tiene más beneficios para inmigrantes que motivos de temor

Photo: Kevin Dietsch, Getty Images

Photo: Kevin Dietsch, Getty Images

June 4, 2022
By: Jesús García

Los inmigrantes portadores de una ‘green card’ deben animarse a aplicar por la ciudadanía una vez cumplidos los tres o cinco años obligatorios, pues ello les traerá mayores beneficios que mantenerse en forma indefinida como residentes permanentes, indicaron expertos.

“Yo le diría a quien esté pensando en solicitar la ciudadanía, que es un proceso muy gratificante”, indicó Samantha Pascal, coordinadora de Naturalization en Catholic Migration Services (CMS), una organización que trabaja en conjunto con New York Lawyers for Public Interest (NYLPI) para ayudar a los inmigrantes.

La experta reconoció que el proceso puede resultar “de miedo” para los inmigrantes, pero los beneficios son un buen motivo para concretar el proceso.

“Hay múltiples razones por las que es importante que alguien solicite la ciudadanía… Un motivo es que una tarjeta verde… vence después de 10 años y después de que vence, una persona tendría que renovarla”, advirtió Pascal. “En ese caso, algunas personas que no califican para una exención de tarifas tendrán que pagar por la tarjeta verde. Y ese costo se acumularía a lo largo de los años”.

Agregó que uno de los beneficios es que los inmigrantes ya no tendrían que estar preocupados por cuánto tiempo pasen fuera del país, ya que con la ‘green card’ si alguien pasa más de seis meses fuera de EE.UU. eso puede significar una “bandera roja” para autoridades migratorias y afectar su proceso de naturalización.

“Uno de los requisitos para naturalizarse es tener lo que se llama presencia física, que es una cantidad determinada de días o tiempo al año que el inmigrante está en los EE.UU.”, indicó la experta, quien destacó el derecho a votar que un inmigrante podría tener al hacerse ciudadano.

Agregó que ese paso es el “último” en un largo proceso de trámites migratorios que vive un no ciudadano, por lo que también le ayudará a reducir sus preocupaciones.

El Dr. Nelson Castillo, abogado en inmigración que ejerce en California, coincidió con Pascal, abonando otros beneficios.

“Los residentes permanentes deben convertirse en ciudadanos estadounidenses para tener más derechos, conseguir mejores empleos y tramitar peticiones de familiares inmediatos de forma más rápida”, indicó el experto. “Además, al ser ciudadanos, ya no los pueden remover del país, al menos que hayan cometido fraude para conseguir la ciudadanía estadounidense”.

El Dr. Castillo recordó que hay más de nueve millones de Residentes Legales Permanentes (LPR, como se le conoce inglés) que podrían ser elegibles para solicitar la ciudadanía estadounidense por medio de naturalización.

Cuatro grandes consejos
Pascal recordó a los inmigrantes proporcionar la suficiente información a su abogado para que pueda hacer una evaluación realista para aplicar por la naturalización ante la oficina de Servicios de Ciudadanía e Inmigración (USCIS).

Dado a que es un servicio gratuito de orientación legal, el CMS no acepta casos complejos, como aquellos en que una persona enfrenta el proceso de deportación.

Pascal indicó, sin embargo, que era indispensable que un inmigrante que haya cometido un delito o enfrente problemas con la justicia así sea en forma administrativa, debe proporcionar esa información a su abogado, para evaluar correctamente su caso.

“Tenemos conversaciones con el cliente para desarrollar los posibles problemas que tengan, nos aseguramos de ayudarlos a obtener los documentos que necesitan. Y usamos esos documentos esencialmente para hacer análisis con los abogados”, expuso. “Si no nos sentimos seguros con nuestro análisis, nos comunicamos con otros proveedores legales para asegurarnos de que nuestro análisis sea correcto y que no estemos poniendo en peligro a nuestro cliente… esencialmente estamos aquí para ayudar a nuestros clientes”.

La razón de esa revisión exhaustiva es que el inmigrante pueda llegar con mayor tranquilidad a la entrevista y al examen para obtener su ciudadanía.

El Dr. Castillo señaló que no todos los inmigrantes con una ‘green card’ serían elegibles para obtener la ciudadanía, debido a que cada caso es único, por lo que dio tres grandes consejos.

1.- Revelar posibles problemas.- Cada inmigrante conoce su historia personal y es consciente de qué puede significar un problema legal, por lo que el Dr. Castillo recuerda que no todos los LPR son elegibles. “Estas personas deben consultar con un abogado de inmigración con licencia y experiencia para determinar si pueden solicitar la ciudadanía lo más pronto posible”, acotó.

2.- Nunca mentir.- El Dr. Castillo advirtió que las mentiras durante el proceso migratorio pueden significar serios problemas. “Esto puede causar una negación de su solicitud de naturalización y, bajo ciertas circunstancias, sujetarle a un proceso de remoción (anteriormente llamado proceso de deportación)”, advirtió.

3. Evaluar opciones de pago.- Existen exenciones de pago para personas de bajos recursos que podrían ayudarle a no tener que pagar la cuota de $725 dólares para el trámite de naturalización, recordó el Dr. Castillo. Indicó que también hay organizaciones sin fines de lucro, como CMS, que proveen servicios legales autorizados gratuitos o a bajo costo.

4. Alejarse de “tramposos”.- El Dr. Castillo sugirió a los inmigrantes “nunca usar los servicios de notarios, consultores de inmigración, [gente] llena-papeles o multi-servicios para recibir ayuda legal en un trámite de naturalización”, dijo. El motivo es que, por ley, estas personas o negocios no están autorizados para ofrecer consejos legales.

El paso a paso
Hay distintos procesos para obtener la naturalización. Los expertos de CMS y NYLPI tienen clínicas que hacen una preevaluación de los casos y luego tienen reuniones físicas con los inmigrantes.
Los abogados evalúan:

– El historial general inmigrante, incluyendo el tiempo que tiene con la ‘green card’, si alguien lo patrocinará.
– Hay preguntas específicas sobre si la persona cometió o no un delito o tuvo algún problema legal, incluso si esa persona utilizó un número de Seguro Social falso.
– Se piden los documentos: originales y copias de ‘green card’, del Número de Seguro Social, pasaporte, certificado de matrimonio (si aplica), certificado de divorcio (si aplica), reportes de impuestos, si tiene seguro médico.
– El abogado revisa toda la documentación y junto con el historial verbal evalúa el caso, para determinar si es viable o enfrentaría un reto especial ante USCIS.
– Es posible que el abogado solicite documentos adicionales como prueba, pero dependen de cada caso.
– El costo a pagar ante USCIS es de $725 dólares, de los cuales $640 dólares son el costo del trámite y $85 por la toma de datos biométricos.
– USCIS podría decidir que una persona no necesita acudir a la toma de datos biométricos, porque se utiliza la información de la ‘green card’.
– Se puede solicitar una exención de pago bajo ciertas circunstancias.
– USCIS podría solicitar información adicional (no siempre ocurre).
– La agencia enviaría notificaciones de los siguientes pasos, incluida la cita de entrevista y examen.
– El inmigrante concreta su entrevista, examen de inglés y cívico.
– Si aprueba sus exámenes se informa de una fecha de juramentación y se entrega el certificado de naturalización.

Ayuda extra
El dinero puede ser un impedimento para aplicar por la naturalización, pero organizaciones civiles y empresas tienen programas de ayuda.

– Puede solicitar un crédito con un interés muy bajo a onepercentforamerica.org, donde se piden requisitos mínimos.
– Catholic Migration Services y NYLPI ofrecen asesoría legal gratuita con varias clínicas al año. Buscar en catholicmigration.org.
– El Departamento de Justicia tiene un listado de abogados pro-bono en todo el país: https://www.justice.gov/eoir/list-pro-bono-legal-service-providers

Lea el artículo original en El Diario: Aplicar por la ciudadanía tiene más beneficios para inmigrantes que motivos de temor

Immigration Update Pertaining to Cameroon and the Designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

 

 

 

IMMIGRATION UPDATE AS OF: Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Immigration Update Pertaining to Cameroon and the Designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

Cameroon has been designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for 18 months, effective June 7, 2022 through December 7, 2023.

What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?
The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may designate a foreign country for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the United States. Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS.

What does this announcement mean?
The designation of TPS for Cameroon allows Cameroonian nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in the Cameroon) who have continuously resided in the United States since April 14, 2022 to file an initial application for TPS, as long as they meet eligibility requirements. Please note that those who travel to the United States after April 14, 2022, are not be eligible for TPS. Individuals granted TPS are not removable from the United States, can obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or work permit, Social Security Number, and may be granted travel authorization.

When can I apply for TPS?
The registration period for eligible individuals begins on June 7, 2022 and will remain in effect through December 7, 2023.

How do I apply?
We recommend consulting a lawyer to determine if you are eligible to apply for TPS and to learn more about what documents you need to include in your application.

If you have questions, please call Catholic Migration Services (CMS) at (718) 236-3000, extension 2015, or you can e-mail us at immigrationassistance@catholicmigration.org with your name, phone number and the languages you speak. Please note that CMS will not be scheduling new legal consultations until August 2022.

In the meantime, you can also contact Action NYC at (800) 354-0365 – Monday through Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. – to connect with City-funded, free and safe immigration legal help.

Click here to download this update as a PDF: Immigration Update Pertaining to Cameroon and the Designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

PRESS CLIP: Wage Theft Scheme Tied to Brooklyn Address Where 2,000 LLCs are Registered – A Brooklyn LLC that boasts of its “non-union” labor is the subject of numerous wage theft complaints by immigrant workers.

June 6, 2022
By Maurizio Guerreo

When JLM Decorating hired Miguel Tapia to paint apartments in Manhattan and Brooklyn, they told him he would receive $800 in cash per week for his work. Instead, Tapia, who was born in the Dominican Republic, was paid about half that amount. He complained to his supervisor, Josafath Arias, who said the company will pay him later. Wage theft happened “to everyone that worked there — easily some 100 workers,” Tapia told Documented.

Tapia decided to show up at the company’s principal address, 199 Lee Avenue in Williamsburg, with 15 of his co-workers, who also said they were owed wages. They did not find an office, but rather, a small storefront shipping business at the foot of a three-story brick building. “We were not allowed to come in,” Tapia said.

Most of Tapia’s co-workers remained silent for fear of reprisals given their immigration status, he said. He ended up filing a wage theft claim that has been unresolved at the state Department of Labor since 2019. An agency spokesperson declined to comment on an open investigation.

What Tapia and his co-workers may not have known at the time was that over 2,000 companies are also registered to 199 Lee Ave. The address is notorious among Brooklyn housing and labor advocates as a nexus of wage theft and neglectful landlords.

Also Read: Developers Evade Accountability for Construction Death at the City’s Most Expensive Apartment Development

“The moment I see that address in Brooklyn, I see what’s going on,” said Alex Garcia, a former Worker Rights Manager at New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE). “You’re not going to get paid. This is wage theft.”

Many of the companies at the address are LLCs, limited liability corporations that were created so landlords could own apartment buildings and shield themselves from lawsuits. To sue a company in New York, it’s necessary to serve a legal notice directly to an individual at an address or post it on the business’ door, which is impossible in the case of 199 Lee Ave companies. Suite 215 alone hosts more than a hundred LLCs.

“I have to assume that 199 Lee Ave is a front for wage theft, but I can also imagine that there are other violations that they seek to evade liability for,” said Alice Davis, attorney of Catholic Migration Services (CMS), which provides attorneys to immigrants regardless of immigration status. CMS has dealt with five different cases of wage theft registered to 199 Lee Ave companies.

Most of the companies registered to the address are either real estate owners or construction contractors, industries where wage theft is rampant and endemic, according to immigrant rights advocates. Very few of them pay legal consequences.

“This is a front to protect LLCs from attorneys and other individuals who are trying to enforce the law,” Davis said.

At least 15 wage theft cases involving several workers had been associated with 199 Lee Ave, according to three different nonprofit organizations — Catholic Migration Services, New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) and Make the Road New York. That is just the tip of the iceberg.

Also Read: A Koch-Funded Group is Breaking Up New York’s Unionized Car Washes

JLM Decorating, for example, has been accused of wage theft in cases that potentially involve more than a hundred workers, according to court documents in the Southern District in New York, New York’s Department of Labor and nonprofits’ clients. None of these workers were unionized.

On its website, JLM boasts of its million dollar painting and coating contracts, “high-quality workmanship” and non-unionized workforce, which means lower prices for the real estate clients and more risks for workers.

“There is no difference [between union and nonunion work] except, who’s receiving the living wages, who’s receiving the safety and everything else on the jobs. Nonunion workers do the same work, except they’re not receiving the same living wages [as union workers],” according to a former nonunion worker who was quoted in a Center for Migration Studies report on construction workers released in May.

Advocates for immigrant workers said JLM cuts corners by recruiting non unionized workers. It also has won contracts with some of the most luxurious real estate projects in New York City, including the Aman Hotel & Residences on Fifth Avenue and the Mandarin Oriental on Columbus Circle where a suite costs up to $36,000 per night.

The real estate press occasionally reports on Moshe Gold, a landlord and developer who is the Chief Executive Officer of JLM. He has signed substantial deals, like the $23 million sale of two buildings in East Harlem and the $19.7 million purchase of an office building in New Jersey.

There have been no mentions in the press, however, of the numerous wage theft accusations against JLM Decorating, Cosmopolitan Interior Corporation, City Views Blinds, and Abalene Decorating — some of the 16 LLCs registered under Gold’s name, New York’s Department of State records show. There also has been no scrutiny of the costs in lost wages and injuries that Gold’s low-wage workers, most of them day laborers recruited on the streets, according to a complaint filed in a federal court in New York, are forced to pay to complete its swanky projects.

At least eight of Gold’s companies are registered at another front for unresponsive landlords — 63 Flushing Avenue, a two-story warehouse near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Companies registered to this address face at least five complaints of wage theft and construction workers’ injuries in federal and state courts.

Also Read: $38M NYCHA Renovation Led By Contractor Known For Dangerous Job Sites, Wage Theft

Gold’s companies have systematically stolen workers’ wages at least since 2016, according to claims in the Southern District and the Labor Department, as well as testimonies from laborers, advocates and attorneys. All the publicly known cases refer to affected workers from Latin America and the Caribbean, most of them undocumented, say advocates. This is consistent with the City’s construction workforce makeup: 63 percent of these workers are immigrants, of which 41 percent are undocumented.

Perhaps the clearest indication that Gold ran a well-oiled scheme to steal workers of their wages through JLM was suggested by one of the company’s own executives in a lawsuit filed in the Southern District in January 2020. Angelo Lopes, JLM’s vice president from 2015 to 2019, claimed that the company’s top managers — Moshe Gold, Joel Gold and Maritza Rodríguez — were engaged “in a scheme to avoid paying employment taxes and to avoid compliance with the relevant wage and hour laws.”

Lopes alleged that the defendants hired day laborers and paid them “off the books” in cash without providing them with a wage statement with the hourly and overtime pay rate, as required by state law. He complained that the workers, who were routinely recruited “off the streets” by a foreman, “weren’t even making the minimum wage for the hours they were working.”

JLM has stolen at least $46,050 from nine workers in claims already settled, according to state records obtained by Documented. Workers said that this is only a fraction of the money JLM has stolen from them.

Santiago Garzón, born in Colombia, said the company relies on a seemingly unending pipeline of immigrant laborers who eventually quit after being short-changed. Garzón worked as a painter for JLM for only a few days in 2019 and said he was owed close to $500. He was able to recover a fraction of his money after advocates at NICE, the workers’ rights organization, pressured the company for months.

Without an advocate’s support, Garzón would not have been able to recover his wages, he said. Most of Garzón’s co-workers lost their money, fearful of getting in trouble and ending up detained and deported, despite the fact that all workers, regardless of their immigrations status, are entitled to be paid according to the law.

A trail of cases

In April 2018, Byron Rosero filed a class-action lawsuit in the Southern District of New York against JLM and Cosmopolitan Interior for failing to pay him overtime during his six years of employment. Rosero, hired to make deliveries, said he worked between 45 and 60 hours a week but was paid only for 40 hours weekly, court records show.

Gold and his companies “knowingly and willfully operated their business with a policy of not paying Plaintiff and other similarly situated employees” overtime, according to the lawsuit, which was settled in February 2019.

In April 2020, Israel Martínez filed a similar class-action lawsuit in the Southern District against JLM, with Gold and Arias as defendants. Martínez worked as a painter for “between fifty-two and seventy hours per week, and sometimes more,” for which he received overtime pay in “limited exceptions.”

The complaint was filed on behalf of at least forty workers in similar situations. The defendants sought to “maximize their profits while minimizing their labor costs and overhead,” the complaint stated.

JLM did not reply to multiple email requests for comment from Documented.

Also Read: Developers Want to Make One Of NYC’s Most Dangerous Jobs Even Riskier

NICE’s advocates have helped laborers in six other wage-theft cases involving JLM and Cosmopolitan Interior, spanning from 2018 to 2020. “Very likely other workers were affected but just didn’t come to NICE,” said Sara Feldman, the nonprofit’s deputy chief of staff. In the 2018 cases, Gilbane Building was the general contractor — a company that NICE has confronted in other wage-theft cases, Feldman said.

Along with JLM, Gilbane Building worked on the exclusive Aman Hotel & Residences project, where a worker died due to a safety violation for which no contractor has paid any legal or financial consequence, as Documented previously reported. Another prominent client of JLM is Tishman, the contractor with the most worker injuries in New York in 2020, according to city records.

Advocates often claim that construction companies that steal wages likely violate safety measures, as they maximize profits by “cutting corners” across the board. “It is the business model of these companies and not just unique instances,” Feldman said. “It’s clear that this is a systemic problem.”

Gold’s companies have also been sued for failing to keep records of their workers’ payments. In March 2019, District Council 9 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades filed a lawsuit in the Southern District alleging that Cosmopolitan Interiors had failed to report the hours worked by its employees and to remit the union’s contributions. The union estimated the damages at almost $520,000.

A year later, Gold was sued for allegedly violating the contract with the New York City District Council of Carpenters through City View Blinds and Abalene Decorating. He failed to remit the required contributions, which amounted to $50,162, stated the complaint.

Without proof of payment, it’s harder to file wage-theft claims, labor attorneys have argued. Still, along with advocates, they continue to fight JLM and Gold’s other companies to recover the wages of immigrant laborers — “artisan painters,” JLM says, who take pride in their “detailed & high-quality work!”