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Catholic Migration Services Awarded Combined Grant of $10,320 from The New York Bar Foundation

Foundation Board member Martin Minkowitz, right, presents a grant to V. Rev. Patrick Keating, Esq., CEO of Catholic Migration Services. Photo: Nancy Pardo

Brooklyn, NY – Catholic Migration Services recently received two grants totaling $10,320 from The New York Bar Foundation to facilitate the delivery of direct legal services to eligible tenants and low-wage workers in New York City.  The Catholic Migration Services’ SCRIE/DRIE Legal Services Initiative Program was awarded $5,000 and the Catholic Migration Services’ Immigrant Workers’ Rights Program was awarded $5,320.

The SCRIE/DRIE (Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption and Disability Rent Increase Exemption) Legal Services Initiative Program provided by Catholic Migration Services offers one-on-one consultations and representation to low-income seniors and disabled tenants who may be eligible to obtain exemptions from future rent increases. The Immigrant Workers’ Rights Program works to attain justice for workers who are often marginalized and exploited, and provides workers with the information needed to protect themselves from future employment-based abuse.

“We appreciate the generosity of the New York Bar Foundation as they continue to support Catholic Migration Services’ SCRIE/DRIE Legal Services Initiative Program and the Workers’ Rights Program,” said Very Reverend Patrick J. Keating, Esq., Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Migration Services. “The awarded grants will help us continue to serve low-income seniors and disabled tenants to avoid unaffordable rent increases, retain their rent-stabilized apartments, prevent homelessness, preserve affordable housing units, stabilize neighborhoods during times of intense gentrification, and also increase the provision of services to low-wage workers, primarily workers who experience wage theft.”

 “The New York Bar Foundation has allocated nearly $700,000 in grants to more than 85 programs across New York significantly increasing the total dollar amount of grants over the past several years,” said Lucia Whisenand, chair of the Grant Review Committee. “The issues we touch on are extensive and impact people in life changing ways.”

Since 1971 Catholic Migration Services has been providing high quality legal services and Know Your Rights education to low-income individuals in Brooklyn and Queens. Catholic Migration Services currently assists immigrants with immigration legal services, tenants in Queens with housing legal services, and low-wage workers with employment legal services. For more information about the SCRIE/DRIE Legal Services Initiative Program, the Immigrants Workers’ Rights Program, and other services, visit our website at www.catholicmigration.org. 

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: What to do if you are apprehended or detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents

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Peze la pou tradui nan Kreyol Ayisyen

Last month, President Trump announced that some 2,000 immigrant families with prior removal orders would be apprehended and detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in 10 cities throughout the United States. Although it is unclear whether these raids will happen and if so, when, it is important for you to remember that all people have rights in the United States, irrespective of their immigration status and that they can assert these rights. If you believe you may be subject to arrest and detention by ICE we urge you not to panic but to be well prepared.

If ICE raids occur, keep in mind the following points:

  • If you have had prior interaction with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or have a case before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in the past and are unsure whether you have a prior removal order, call the Immigration Court Hotline at: 1-800-898-7180 to find out. Make sure you have your A-number on hand. This is an automated answering system so you do not have to speak with an actual person.
  • Create a Safety Plan and Identify Emergency Contacts: Put together a folder in which to place important information including, among other things: Birth certificates of your children born abroad and in the United States; marriage certificates; your children’s school information; medical and pharmaceutical records for yourself and any of your dependents; copies of old work authorization documents issued to you by the USCIS; copies of applications for immigration relief filed with the Immigration Court or the USCIS as well as any documents given to you by the immigration court, USCIS, or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Also include a list of emergency contacts who can be reached in the event you are taken into custody. If you are working with an attorney currently or have worked with one in the past include their contact information as well. If you can, memorize your emergency contact and attorney’s phone numbers. Share these documents and contact information with a trusted friend or relative.
  • Be Prepared: If you entered the United States without proper documentation and you have resided in the United States for over two years, include the following documents proving that you have lived in the United States for the last 2 years in your folder: Medical records for you and your children; bank statements; receipts; utility bills (including though not limited to telephone, electric, and cable bills); apartment lease agreements; medical insurance information; money transfer receipts (e.g., Sigue or Western Union); any correspondence in your name received while residing in the United States; pictures of you with a date and time stamp taken in the United States in front of notable landmarks (e.g., the Statue of Liberty, the White House, the Brooklyn Bridge, etc.); and any document clearly dated that includes your name or address in the United States. Please remember: All of these documents need to include your name and must be clearly dated. Share these documents and contact information with a trusted friend or relative.
  • Provide your child’s school or daycare with your emergency contact’s name and phone number and provide authorization for the emergency contact to pick up your child.
  • Remain Silent: This right applies to all individuals in the United States no matter their immigration status. You do not have to answer any questions or show any documents to an immigration officer.
  • Do Not Open Doors: ICE cannot come into your home without a warrant signed by a federal judge. Ask for a judicial warrant to be slid under the door. Any document issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not authorize ICE to enter your home.
  • Do Not Sign Anything: In the event you are arrested and detained by ICE do not sign anything given to you by ICE officers before reviewing it with your attorney.
  • Record and Report: If you witness a raid, take note of what happened during the incident. If at all possible do this from a safe distance while not interfering with the enforcement action. Take note of where the arrest took place, what time of day it took place, how many officers were involved, how many people were taken into custody, and if children were present during the arrest.

Please make all reports to the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs at reportraids@moia.nyc.gov.

For immediate emergency assistance, please contact the New Sanctuary Coalition Rapid Response Lines at (903) 884-HELP (4357) and (908) 791-5309.

For help obtaining legal assistance in New York State:

  • Office of New Americans hotline at: 1-800-566-7636
  • Action NYC at: 1-800-354-0365

Please review the following Know Your Rights materials from our allies at:
Rapid Response Toolkit, CLINIC
Know Your Rights Cards, CLINIC
Immigrant Defense Project
New Sanctuary Coalition
American Immigration Lawyers Association

For help obtaining legal representation in New York State, contact the Office of New Americans hotline at 1-800-566-7636.
For immediate emergency assistance, please contact the New Sanctuary Coalition Rapid Response Lines at (903) 884-HELP (4357) and (908) 791-5309.

Download this advisory as a PDF.

Recent Updates Pertaining to Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan

November 12, 2018

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Peze la pou tradui nan Kreyol Ayisyen

Recent Updates to Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
On October 3, 2018 a court temporarily stopped the U.S. Government from terminating Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for four countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan. This ruling means that, for now, people with TPS from those four countries can lawfully remain in the United Status. This is only a temporary decision, it is not permanent, which means, it can change at any time. The ruling does not impact the termination of TPS for Guinea, Liberia, Honduras, Nepal or Sierra Leone.

What this announcement means for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Recipients:
As of January 2018, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) had been terminated for 7 countries: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador. The injunction from the California court stops the government from deporting protected immigrants from the countries of Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador while the case continues.

The Judge prohibited the government from terminating TPS for these four countries pending the outcome of the litigation.

This decision does not allow people from these countries who had not previously applied for TPS to apply for TPS now.

On October 31, 2018 The Department of Homeland Security publicly stated that Nicaraguan and Sudanese TPS holders who re-registered during the last re-registration period for their country received an automatic extension of TPS until April 2, 2019.

Nicaraguan and Sudanese TPS holders whose cases have already been approved and who have Employment Authorization Documents (“work permits”) set to expire will receive automatic extensions of their work authorization through April 2, 2019.

Automatic extension of work authorization documents apply to TPS holders whose cases have already been approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as well as TPS holders with pending applications.

More information about TPS for Haiti and El Salvador will be provided if the court case continues past the termination dates for Haiti (July 22, 2019) and El Salvador (September 9, 2019).

Catholic Migration Services urges anyone who received TPS for Guinea, Liberia, Nepal, or Sierra Leone to call our office and schedule an appointment for a free legal consultation.

What happens next:
The court case will continue, and there may eventually be a court decision or settlement that resolves whether TPS can be terminated, and if so, the circumstances for such termination. Until then, the U.S. government cannot terminate TPS for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan.

How to Contact Us for Free Legal Advice:
If you are a TPS recipient for Guinea, Liberia, Nepal, or Sierra Leone and have questions or concerns, please call Catholic Migration Services in Brooklyn at (718) 236-3000 or in Queens at (347) 472-3500 for free legal advice about how this court decision may impact you. Our office hours are Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. For additional information, visit our website and follow us on social media via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @CMSBQ.

You can also obtain free legal advice by calling 311 and asking for “Action NYC.”

Download this update as a PDF.

DACA RECIPIENTS: Call your lawyer today!

July 31, 2018

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The opportunity to renew your DACA Status could end as soon as mid-August 2018 depending on the outcome of court cases challenging the Trump administration’s attempt to eliminate DACA.

It is crucial that you contact your lawyer and check in with them today!

Brooklyn Office: (718) 236-3000
Queens Office: (347) 472-3500

Download this advisory as a PDF.

Recent updates Pertaining to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status Pertaining to Nepal

May 1, 2018

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Recent Updates to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
On April 24, 2018 a Judge for the Federal District Court of the District of Columbia ruled that the administration’s decision to terminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was based on “unexplained grounds” and therefore concluded that the DACA program must stay in place and the USCIS must accept new applications. However, the Judge’s decision is on hold for 90 days to give the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) time to better explain its reasoning for cancelling DACA.

What this mean for DACA recipients
If the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is not able to come up with a sufficient reason for why they cancelled DACA, the program will continue and DHS will be forced to accept new DACA applications.

Recent Updates to Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
On April 26, 2018 the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that the termination of TPS for Nepal will be delayed for 12 months and the program will terminate on June 24, 2019. Nepali citizens with TPS will be required to re-register for TPS and work authorization but should not do so until the re-registration period is announced in the Federal Registrar.

How to Contact Us:
If you are a DACA or TPS recipient and have any questions or concerns, please call Catholic Migration Services in Brooklyn at (718) 236-3000 or in Queens at (347) 472-3500 between 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from Monday through Friday. For additional information, visit our website at www.catholicmigration.org and follow us on social media via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @CMSBQ.

Download this update as a PDF.

An Immigration Update from Catholic Migration Services

March 22, 2018

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New U.S. Government Policy Affecting Family-Based Petitions:
In January of this year the U.S. Department of State revised its “public charge” policy in the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) also known as “State Department Instructions” on “public charge.” The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is also proposing changes to the federal government’s longstanding public charge policy.

Under the previous rules, intending immigrants had to prove that they would not become a “public charge” in the U.S. and they would be financially supported by a sponsor if needed. In order to prove this, the intending immigrant needed to submit a sworn statement from the sponsor or co-sponsor who earned enough income to prove that he or she could support the intending immigrant if necessary.

Under the new rules that were implemented at the end of January, the officer at the embassy can now consider a wide range of factors such as a family member’s or sponsor’s use of public benefits. Therefore, if you or your family member are receiving benefits from the Supplemental Assistance Program, commonly known as SNAP or food stamps it does not mean that you are banned from sponsoring your relatives. However, these factors will be considered along with several other items, which include the intending immigrant’s age, health, and employment history.

Catholic Migration Services would like to take this opportunity to reiterate this does not mean that you should stop receiving any benefits that you currently need for your family.

It is still too early to know how this policy change is being applied in the different consulates abroad. As a result, we will continue to do our best to keep the community informed on policy changes as we have done in the past. If you have any questions about your particular circumstance please call our office.

How to Contact Us:
If you have any questions or concerns, please call Catholic Migration Services in Brooklyn at (718) 236-3000 or in Queens at (347) 472-3500 between 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from Monday through Friday. For additional information, visit our website and follow us on social media via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @CMSBQ.

Download this update as a PDF.