On Saturday, December 1st the faithful of the Diocese of Brooklyn gathered for the Annual Diocesan Migration Day Mass at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph. Immigrants from Brooklyn and Queens celebrated the richness of their faith and diversity dressed in traditional attire and carrying banners from their respective countries and home parishes. It was truly a multicultural experience for those in attendance.
Read the full story in The Tablet: Unity Through Christ on Migration Day
See Current’s NET TV’s news segment: Migration Day Mass
The issue of immigration reform has caught the attention of our country because of the unfortunate practice of separating children from their parents as they approach the border. Some of the people are seeking asylum or a safe haven escaping difficult situations in their home countries, especially violence and oppression. Others come seeking to improve their economic condition fleeing a life of poverty. In his weekly column Put Out Into the Deep, the Most Reverend Bishop DiMarzio revisits the President’s State of the Union address and the four pillars announced as the necessary elements for immigration reform.
Read the full column in The Tablet: The Immigration Conundrum
Since the new administration took office in January 2017, eligible green card holders have expressed an increased demand and interest in becoming U.S. citizens. Catholic Migration Services and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest have teamed up with partnering firms to offer free naturalization clinics. The next clinic is scheduled to be held on Saturday, July 28th at LaGuardia Community College in Queens. Individuals interested are encouraged to call our free and confidential hotline at (212) 225-4400 or text (718) 866-3687 to be pre-screened and determine eligibility.
When: Saturday, July 28, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Where: LaGuardia Community College located at 31-10 Thomson Avenue, E Atrium, Long Island City, NY 11101.
Click here to download the workshop flyer as a PDF in English en Español.
Read the full story via amNewYork: Becoming a U.S. citizen: Immigrant New Yorkers reveal why they want to become Americans
In an effort to raise awareness and speak out against the separation of families at our southern borders, Queens residents peacefully rallied and marched in solidarity of immigrant families while opposing the current administrations policy of separating undocumented children and detaining them in specialized facilities. Organized by City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), the march started at St. Sebastian’s Roman Catholic Church in Woodside and ended at Noonan Playground in Sunnyside.
Jose Leon, a senior staff attorney with Catholic Migration Services, said he was appalled by the images of children in detention and that the organization he represents will continue fighting for immigrants.
Read the full story via the Times Ledger: Hundreds rally against separation of immigrant children from their families
Tenant leaders and members. Above, from left, Rosalba Quintero, Lesvia Mendez, Lorena Lopez, Lucelly Hincapie, Ruben Dario Llanos, Member representing CMS, Martha Genao, Telvia Acevedo, Lauren Springer, Jose Genao & Ernestina Villafane. (Photo: Mariam Magar)
On Friday, September 30th the Rent Justice Coalition recognized Catholic Migration Services (CMS) for its work on behalf of low-income Queens tenants in connection with the June 9th rent stabilization hearing held at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center Auditorium before the New York City Rent Guidelines Board (RGB).
The board, comprised of nine members, held multiple public hearings throughout the City of New York in anticipation of their final vote on June 27th where they passed the second straight rent freeze in their 46-year existence. A historical achievement that affects 1.6 million rent stabilized tenants; the 7-2 vote approved a 0% increase on one-year leases and a 2% increase on two-year leases signed between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017.
Serving as borough head for Queens, Catholic Migration Services prepared for the public hearings mobilizing tenants among the groups from the Rent Justice Coalition representing Queens County. During this time tenants testified before the Rent Guidelines Board sharing personal experiences and expressing why a rent increase was not putting the most vulnerable New Yorkers first. Lorena Lopez, a tenant organizer with Catholic Migration Services was pleased with the vote and honored that the organization was recognized in the fight to advocate on behalf of tenants in the borough but also shared the work doesn’t end here. “We believe the tenants deserve a rent rollback and although this is a celebration for the tenants, organizers, attorneys and members the reality is several seats on the Rent Guidelines Board will become vacant by the end of this year. That means the work of the coalition is to re-educate its new members,” explained Lopez.
After a recent suit filed by the Rent Stabilization Association (RSA) against the Rent Guidelines Board, advocating on behalf of tenants will continue to encounter hurdles. Lopez fears the new board will act more conservatively when making decisions that could benefit tenants since the RSA represents 25,000 landlords of one million rent stabilized apartments in the five boroughs. Until then the New York City Rent Freeze, a success for over 1 million New Yorkers, mainly comprised of low-income families, senior citizens and the disabled went into effect October 1st. This affects residents who rent an apartment that is rent regulated (rent controlled, rent stabilized, hotel stabilized or Mitchell-Lama).