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Virtual Immigration Town Hall

Last week Catholic Migration Services and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest hosted a Virtual Immigration Town Hall via Facebook Live. Panelists discussed how COVID-19 is impacting tenants and workers, shared helpful resources with the immigrant community during this difficult time, and took questions from the audience. If you missed it, view the video below.

*The Virtual Immigration Town Hall begins at 00:09:00

Join Catholic Migration Services and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest for an Virtual Immigration Town Hall on…

Posted by Catholic Migration Services on Thursday, May 7, 2020

The Covid-19 Rent Crisis Is Here

As hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers lose their jobs or part of their income due to the pandemic, Catholic Migration Services is assisting tenants who are thinking of going on a “rent strike” – refusing to pay rent. As of May 1st, more than 50 buildings with 1,000 tenants are on rent strike — the largest rent strike in nearly 100 years. These tenants are asking the government of New York State to cancel rent for those who cannot pay, cancel mortgages for small landlords, and cancel utility payments, in order to prevent mass displacement and evictions once New York’s eviction moratorium is lifted. In some cases, tenants may also be demanding that their landlords make urgently needed repairs and maintain their buildings adequately to prevent the spread of the virus.

In a recent article in the Wired, Agustin Pérez, a tenant leader working with Catholic Migration Services shares his experience after recently losing his job due to the COVID-19 pandemic and with two young children and a wife on maternity leave, he is doing everything he can to keep his family healthy and safe.

Read the full story in the Wired: The Covid-19 Rent Crisis Is Here

To learn more about the history and purpose of rent strikes, and what you can do as a tenant, visit www.rightotcounselnyc.org and see images from the @RTCNYC @HOUSINGFORALLNY
*Catholic Migration Services advises any tenant considering a rent strike to try to speak with an attorney before striking. If you would like help organizing a rent strike in your building, contact Amy Collado at (347) 472-3500, extension 1021. You may obtain free legal advice about going on rent strike by calling Andrew Lehrer at (347) 472-3500, extension 1026.

Legal Services NYC Sues NYC Immigration Courts for Refusing to Postpone Filing Deadlines Amid COVID-19, Putting Countless Lives at Risk

On April 29, 2020 Legal Services NYC and Catholic Migration Services as an organizational plaintiff – filed a lawsuit before the Southern District of New York against the Executive Office for Immigration Review, AKA “immigration court” (EOIR) challenging the EOIR’s requirement that all litigants with cases currently pending before it continue to meet previously established filing deadlines even in the face of a global pandemic.

What this means practically is that if a legal worker practicing before the immigration court had a filing due at any time during this COVID-19 pandemic and gubernatorial shelter-in-place, they are still required to meet that deadline or risk running afoul of a court order and more importantly causing potentially irreparable harm to their clients and their case. This case seeks to force the agency to enjoin the enforcement of all immigration court deadlines until 45 days after all shelter in place orders are lifted.

Read the full press release from Legal Services NYC: Legal Services NYC Sues NYC Immigration Courts for Refusing to Postpone Filing Deadlines Amid COVID-19, Putting Countless Lives at Risk

Click here to download the full complaint.

The Presidential Proclamation Suspending Entry of Certain Immigrants During the Recovery to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Presione aquí para la versión en Español

Who does the Presidential Proclamation impact?
The Proclamation Impacts Immigrants who are:

  1. Outside the U.S. on April 23, 2020 and 
  2. Do not have an immigrant visa (meaning, had not had the consular interview and been approved to enter the United States) on or before April 23, 2020, and 
  3. Do not have travel document (advance parole, transportation letter, or boarding foil) valid on April 23, 2020 or issued after that date, and
  4. Are trying to enter the U.S. as a step in the green card process in the next 60 days. 

The Proclamation Does NOT Impact Immigrants Who:

  • Were inside the United States on April 23, 2020, or
  • Are already lawful permanent residents (green card holders), or
  • Have an immigrant visa that was valid on April 23, 2020, or
  • Have an official travel document (advance parole, transportation letter, or boarding foil) that is valid on April 23, 2020 or issued after that date, or
  • Are the spouse or under-21 child of a U.S. Citizen, or
  • Are healthcare workers, physicians, medical researchers, or other researchers combating the pandemic, or their spouse or unmarried, under-21 children, or
  • Recognized as essential workers, their spouse and unmarried, under-21 children, or
  • Have a student, temporary worker, or other non-immigrant visa, or
  • Are a member of the U.S. military or their spouse and children, or
  • Are seeking asylum, withholding of removal, protection under the Convention Against Torture, or refugee status, or
  • Are entering on Special Immigrant Visas with SI or SQ classifications, or
  • Are a prospective adoptee of a U.S. Citizen under the IR-4 or IH-4 classifications or
  • Applying for a visa through the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program, or
  • Are determined to be a person whose entry would further important law enforcement objectives, or
  • Are determined to be entering “in the national interest”

What does the Proclamation say about non-immigrant visas?
For now, the Presidential Proclamation does not affect non-immigrant visas. However, the Proclamation hints that within the next 30 days, the Trump Administration will be considering whether to include non-immigrant visas in a similar executive action in the near future.

Does this really “temporarily suspend immigration into the United States” like the President said it would? Does it impact people who are already permanent residents?
No. There are many immigrants who will continue to be able to enter the United States. The Proclamation’s effect is small especially because many government offices had already closed or reduced operations because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It does not ban immigrants who are already permanent residents. For now, the Proclamation is set to last for only 60 days, although that period could be extended.

What is the purpose of this Proclamation?
In the Proclamation, the President says he thinks immigrants would compete with U.S. citizen workers for jobs during the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the time immigrants do not compete with U.S. citizens for jobs, but instead increase job opportunities for citizens. According to the Small Business Administration, immigrants are 30% more likely to start a business. Businesses owned by immigrants hire workers. Immigrants put billions of dollars into our economy. The Presidential Proclamation is based on false and anti-immigrant beliefs. The Trump Administration seems to be trying to take advantage of the current crisis to cut immigration to the United States.

Questions?
Please contact Catholic Migration Services in Brooklyn at (718) 236-3000 or in Queens at (347) 472-3500.

Download this update as a PDF.

Update from Catholic Migration Services Regarding Office Operations and Assisting Clients During COVID-19

Presione aquí para la versión en Español

Catholic Migration Services is continuing to assist existing and new clients during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. However, we have limited our office operations to reduce health risks to visitors, staff and volunteers. For the health and safety of all, please do not come to our offices unless instructed to do so by a staff member of Catholic Migration Services.

For Individuals with Scheduled Appointments
If you already have an appointment scheduled to meet with someone at Catholic Migration Services, a staff member from our office will contact you to discuss holding the appointment by phone or rescheduling for a later date.

For Individuals Seeking Legal Assistance for the First Time
If you do not have an appointment scheduled and are seeking assistance, please see below for information about how to obtain immigration, housing or employment legal services.

Immigration
If you are not a client and are calling for immigration help, please call (718) 236-3000 in Brooklyn or (347) 472-3500 in Queens and leave a message. We will return your message and schedule a time for you to speak by phone with one of our attorneys or immigration counselors.

Housing
Please be advised that Housing Court has been closed since Tuesday, March 17th until further notice, except for emergencies such as illegal lockouts and emergency repairs. Please know that all evictions will be put on hold until further notice. If you are a Queens resident and have questions about evictions, rent or repair issues, please call (347) 472-3500 (Catholic Migration Services) or 311 (New York City help line).

For additional housing assistance, please contact:
Andrew Lehrer, Esq. – ext. 1026
Amy Collado, Tenant Organizer – ext. 1021
Ahren Lahvis, Paralegal – ext. 1027

Workers’ Rights
The Coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on workers. While our offices remain physically closed, Catholic Migration Services continues to provide critical legal services to low-wage and immigrant workers. In addition to providing advice and legal representation on general employment matters, such as wage theft, we are now also providing advice to workers directly impacted by this pandemic, including those with workplace health and safety concerns and those who have recently lost their jobs. Our hotline is open! To speak with an attorney, please call (877) 52-LABOR (52267) Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ¡Hablamos Español!

Events
The safety of our community is our priority at all times. As a result, Catholic Migration Services has suspended all events and outreach activities including our monthly community meetings at St. Sebastian Parish in Woodside. We encourage vulnerable individuals to exercise caution and stay safe. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this health emergency.

Additional Information
For additional updates, please regularly visit the organization website and social media channels:
www.catholicmigration.org
www.Facebook.com/CMSBQ
www.Twitter.com/CMSBQ
www.Instagram.com/CMSBQ

Download this update as a PDF.

New York halts evictions indefinitely due to coronavirus pandemic

On Monday, March 16th at 5:00 p.m., an eviction moratorium went into effect for New York tenants (both residential and commercial) after advocates with the Right to Counsel New York City Coalition and Housing Justice for All petitioned local leaders to call for a moratorium during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis. As a result, Housing Court will be closed as of Tuesday, March 17th until further notice, except for emergencies such as illegal lockouts and emergency repairs.

Read the full story in Curbed NY:  New York halts evictions indefinitely due to corona pandemic