Immigrants in need of naturalization help offered free services by the New York Lawyers for Public Interest

In celebration of Immigrant Heritage Week, Catholic Migration Services has teamed up with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and several law firms for a naturalization workshop on Saturday, April 21st at the offices of Catholic Migration located at 191 Joralemon Street in Brooklyn, New York. Eligible green card holders interested in naturalizing are encouraged to call (212) 225-4400 or text (718) 866-3687 for more information and to register.

Read the full story via amNewYork: Immigrants in need of naturalization help offered free services by the New York Lawyers for Public Interest

Clilck here to download the workshop flyer as a PDF in English or Spanish

National Call-In Day for the Protection of Dreamers, Feb. 26

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is set to expire on March 5th. In response to this deadline, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for a National Call-In Day for the Protection of Dreamers on February 26th. Communities are encouraged to contact your members of Congress by calling (855) 589-5698 and visiting Justice for Immigrants for additional resources.

In the Diocese of Brooklyn, advocates welcome the call of the U.S. Bishop’s to:

  1. Protect Dreamers from deportation
  2. Provide them with a path to citizenship
  3. Avoid any damage to existing protections for families and unaccompanied minors in the process

See Current’s NET TV news segment:

Bronx Diner Workers Win Class Action Suit in Federal Court for Six Years in Owed Wages

PS and FP contacted Catholic Migration Services in May 2015. They and their coworkers had been working 50 to 64 hours per week at a diner in the Bronx, earning between $1.75 and $2.00 per hour. After meeting with our attorneys, it was explained to them that they were owed a significant amount of wages nor could not be fired for filing a complaint or lawsuit to recover the money owed. Eleven additional workers with similar complaints about their pay later came forward. In July 2015, Catholic Migration Services and the firm, Cohen, Weiss & Simon filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of approximately eighty to one hundred workers, most of whom were Mexican Nationals, who had been employed by the diner over the past six years, and had suffered significant minimum wage and overtime violations, in federal court. The case was later settled for $900,000, including fees and costs.

For more on the case and to view the official complaint, click here.


Labor Violations Case Settled for Employees Against Chain of Manhattan Pharmacies

In 2017, Catholic Migration Services filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of four employees, who stocked shelves and made deliveries for a chain of Manhattan pharmacies. Throughout their employment, the workers were not paid the applicable minimum wage and were never compensated with overtime pay, although they typically worked over sixty hours per week. In response to these labor violations, our attorneys sent a letter to the Employer advising him of these legal violations, the Employer made threats against the workers and sought to interfere with their current employment. After filing a case at the Southern District of New York, the case was settled for $92,500.00

For more on the case and to view the official complaint, click here.


Salon Employee Seeks Legal Assistance and Wins Wage-Hour Violations and Retaliation Claim

For over six years, MR, an immigrant from El Salvador, worked at a hair salon in Flushing, Queens. MR worked on average 70 hours per week washing customers’ hair and cleaning the store. She was paid less than $6 per hour, well below the state minimum wage and never received overtime pay. MR was never permitted to take a lunch break and often ate standing up. While she was also required to apply harsh chemicals treatments on clients, which resulted in headaches, watery eyes, and chapped hands, the employer never provided her with protection. MR finally complained to her employer about the low pay, long hours, and unsafe working conditions. As a result, her employer fired her. When the employer found out that MR was hired at another salon, the employer contacted the new salon and said that MR was a bad employee and had reported her former employer to the government. The new employer then fired MR.

MR came to Catholic Migration Services for legal help in April 2015. Catholic Migration Services agreed to file a complaint on her behalf with the New York State Department of Labor (NYS DOL). An attorney at our organization provided advocacy to ensure that DOL’s investigation would encompass six years of wage-hour violations, rather than three years typically investigated, and that the agency would investigate her retaliation claim. MR’s former employer agreed to pay a total of $44,182.50 in owed wages and liquidated damages, and an additional $12,500 in damages for the retaliation.

Justice for a Long Island City Tenant Sued by Landlord

*Ms. Diaz, a Colombian immigrant, lives in one of the few rent stabilized apartments left in Long Island City, New York. Long Island City is a neighborhood in Queens that has seen massive gentrification and rezoning in recent years, which has transformed the once industrial neighborhood to primarily high-rises designed for higher income tenants. Working class families have been aggressively targeted due to increased property values.

Ms. Diaz came to Catholic Migration Services in the Fall of 2016 after she was sued in a holdover proceeding in which her landlord alleged that she had not maintained her rent stabilized apartment as her primary residence. Our team successfully argued dismissal of the case due to errors in service of the court papers. Ms. Diaz’s landlord, unrelenting, sued her again making the same allegations. Again, we fought for Ms. Diaz and the landlord was forced to discontinue. In the final rendition of this case, Catholic Migration Services brought a motion to dismiss on several legal procedural grounds. After oral argument, the court dismissed the case, this time making it much more difficult for the landlord to succeed in the future. As a result, Ms. Diaz and her family may peacefully remain in their apartment for the foreseeable future.

*Although the account of this case is real, the name has been changed to protect the privacy of our client.