The brutal, senseless, and inhumane killing of George Floyd was heart-breaking, sickening, and outrageous. No human being deserves what happened to him. The families of George Floyd and all our black and brown brothers and sisters who have violently lost their lives are in our thoughts and prayers.
Sadly, racism is not a thing of the past in our nation. The treating of individuals as less than human is unacceptable. The human dignity of every single person must be respected. Racial inequality remains ever present in wealth, housing, employment, our immigration system, and enforcement of the law. Never has this division been so starkly apparent than in the last few months. Communities of color and immigrants have been disproportionately impacted by the devastation of the Covid-19 virus. Black and immigrant communities have been epicenters of infections and death in New York City. In the resulting economic devastation, these communities struggle to pay rent and pay for basic necessities, including many immigrants, who are excluded from federal relief packages. Catholic Migration Services stands in solidarity with our black and brown brothers and sisters. We remain firm in our commitment to respecting the human dignity of all. We must all work together t end the cycle of hatred, and to end the cycle of racism.
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
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently appointed Magdalena Barbosa, Managing Attorney with the Workers’ Rights Program at Catholic Migration Services to one of the City’s new sector advisory councils that will advise the City of New York on how to reopen from the COVID-19 crisis. Magda was appointed to the new advisory council on labor and workforce development alongside a group of distinguished individuals in New York City.
Read the full story in AMNY: Mayor announces more sector advisory councils to help reopening and recovery from COVID-19 pandemic
Read the full press release from the Office of the Mayor: Mayor de Blasio Appoints Members to Sector Advisory Councils
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.
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.
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.
Presione aquí para la versión en Español
Who does the Presidential Proclamation impact?
The Proclamation Impacts Immigrants who are:
- Outside the U.S. on April 23, 2020 and
- 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
- Do not have travel document (advance parole, transportation letter, or boarding foil) valid on April 23, 2020 or issued after that date, and
- 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.
Please contact Catholic Migration Services in Brooklyn at (718) 236-3000 or in Queens at (347) 472-3500.
Download this update as a PDF.