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Gov. Cuomo announces new measures to protect immigrants from ICE

NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced two new measures to assist and protect immigrants who are targeted by ICE and the government’s anti-immigrant policies in their communities.

Cuomo’s Liberty Defense Project has selected regional providers and attorneys for a Rapid Response Program to respond to unanticipated ICE enforcement actions. Twenty-one new opportunity centers across the state to deliver essential services, education and guidance to immigrants in their own neighborhoods.

“While the federal government continues to threaten our immigrant communities, New York will not stop fighting to protect the rights of new Americans,” Cuomo said. 

“With this new program and expanded opportunity centers, we are ensuring vulnerable immigrants who are unfairly targeted by ICE have the legal assistance and services they need to achieve their full potential in New York.”

Rapid Response Program to Deliver Urgent Legal Services to Immigrants

Seven providers were selected to dedicate at least 15 LDP attorneys to assist immigrants who are in urgent, time-sensitive legal jeopardy in every region of the state.

These providers will also give legal support and direct representation for children who are separated or unaccompanied and their families as well as provide workshops and training in hard-to-reach communities addressing what to do when approached by Ice and how to create a family preparedness plan.

  • New York City: Research Foundation of the City University of New York, on behalf of CUNY Citizenship Now!, providing one dedicated attorney.
  • Long Island:Empire Justice Center, providing two dedicated attorneys due to increased ICE enforcement and arrests.
  • Hudson Valley:Neighbors Link, providing two dedicated attorneys due to increased ICE enforcement and arrests.
  • Capital Region:Prisoner’s Legal Services of New York, providing two dedicated attorneys to bolster the roster of immigration attorneys in the region and respond to an increasing number of detained asylum seekers relocated there.
  • North Country:Prisoner’s Legal Services of New York, providing one dedicated attorney.
  • Mohawk Valley:While no applications for this region were received during this procurement, the LDP is working with partners to ensure the region is appropriately served.
  • Central New York:Frank H. Hiscock Legal Aid Society, providing two dedicated attorneys due to the increase in the number of raids on local farms.
  • Finger Lakes:The Legal Aid Society of Rochester, NY, providing two dedicated attorneys to respond to the large number of arrests and detentions of immigrants in the region.
  • Western New York:Journey’s End Refugee Services, providing two dedicated attorneys to respond to the large number of arrests and detentions of immigrants in the region.
  • Southern Tier:Journey’s End Refugee Services, providing one dedicated attorney.

New ONA Opportunity Centers to Help Immigrant Communities Across New York

Additional neighborhood-based Opportunity Centers across the state provide services, including legal consultation, Naturalization assistance, community workshops and civic education.

  • New York City:Mercy Center, Inc. (Bronx); Chinese-American Planning Council (Brooklyn and Manhattan); Arab American Association of NY, Inc. (Brooklyn); Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights (Manhattan); Queens Community House (Queens); Make the Road New York (Queens); and MinKwon Center for Community Action, Inc. (Queens).
  • Long Island:Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) (Nassau County) and Make the Road New York (Suffolk County)
  • Hudson Valley:Catholic Charities Community Services, Archdiocese of NY (Dutchess County and Orange County); Neighbors Link (Westchester County); and Make the Road New York (Westchester County)
  • Capital Region:U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants – Albany Field Office (Albany County).
  • North Country:While no applications for this region were received during this procurement, ONA is working with partners to ensure the region is appropriately served.
  • Mohawk Valley:Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees (Oneida County).
  • Central New York:Catholic Charities of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, NY (Onondaga County).
  • Finger Lakes:Catholic Charities Diocese of Rochester dba Catholic Family Center (Monroe County).
  • Western New York:Jericho Road Ministries (Erie County).
  • Southern Tier:Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rochester (Tompkins & Tioga Counties) and American Civic Association (Broome County).

Specifically, these new centers will provide, free-of-charge:

  • Legal Consultation: Each Opportunity Center will be provided with a qualified and experienced immigration attorney to assist with the naturalization process and provide free legal consultations to clients. Each Center will hold at least 10 immigration law consultation days each year.
  • Naturalization Assistance: Opportunity Centers will assist new Americans with citizenship applications, including N400, N600 and DACA applications on a rolling basis. Each Center must provide clients information on available financial resources for naturalization costs. Each Center will be expected to submit at least 100 complete applications to USCIS each year. Citizenship and DACA applications will be prepared by qualified, DOJ-accredited representatives or immigration attorneys.
  • Community Workshops: Each Opportunity Center will offer eight community workshops each year, covering topics including parent engagement with schools, financial literacy, disaster preparedness, consumer protection and educational opportunities for immigrants and their children.
  • Citizenship Preparation Classes: Each Opportunity Center will offer at least one class geared toward green card holders who are preparing for the naturalization test. Topics must include U.S. civics, history, government and other topics included on the exam.
  • Immigration Law/Federal Immigration Policy Workshops: Each Opportunity Center will host at least four seminars covering immigration law and information on federal immigration policies. Topics may include: developing a family emergency plan; designating power of attorney; knowing your rights and responsibilities if immigration officers come to your home or place of employment; what to do if you are arrested; how to find a family member in detention; and consular services for applicable communities
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