City Council Commits $200,000 to Immigrant Rights Education Program


Community members participate in "Know Your Rights" training provided by Make the Road New York and CWE


Last year, the Consortium for Worker Education launched an immigrant rights education program to support immigrant communities and the organizations that serve them.
Those efforts got a recent boost with a New York City Council commitment of $200,000 in funding. The project is also supported with funds from New York State.
Make the Road New York, a partner in this program, has already begun training CWE’s network of community organizations to prepare their constituencies for interactions with immigration agents, in addition to providing "Know Your Rights" education directly to thousands of at-risk New Yorkers. Organizations are also taught how to support families who are impacted by immigration detentions and deportations, as well as how to mobilize campaigns to advocate for community members in detention.
CWE has also developed trainings specifically geared towards unions and their members. One such training, provided by the Legal Aid Society, discusses how the collective bargaining agreements that unions negotiate with employers can include protections specifically for immigrant workers.



Pathways to Legalization training provided by CWE to members of Teamsters Local 272


Another training, which CWE recently presented to members of Teamsters Local 272, covered pathways to legalization. CWE and the immigration attorney leading the training offered to answer individual questions and connect the unions’ members, who work in parking garages across the city, to legal services. CWE developed materials in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole for the training.
For the City Council, the CWE program is part of a larger commitment to New York’s immigrant communities. Both Mayor de Blasio and the City Council have championed New York as a sanctuary city, and have introduced a municipal I.D. program and funded attorneys for New Yorkers in immigration proceedings.
"New York is a city of working immigrants," said City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, chair of the Council's Immigration Committee. "The Consortium for Worker Education provides essential education about labor and immigration rights, and paths to career advancement. When CWE partners with local organizations like Make the Road New York, immigrant workers are served in their own communities and in the languages they speak. Leveraging the trust community-based organizations hold in immigrant communities is the most cost-efficient and effective way to meet the needs of our city’s vital immigrant workforce."
The strategy of providing training to New Yorkers via the community organizations already based in their neighborhoods has been the model of CWE’s successful workforce development programs, Jobs to Build On and Worker Service Centers.
"These are the organizations that immigrants trust," says Joe McDermott, Executive Director of the Consortium for Worker Education. "They are already coming to their offices for youth programing, job training, or housing assistance. Preparing these organizations to also provide immigrant rights education and organizing is the best way to reach New Yorkers who are in need at this moment."
With federal attacks on immigrants continuing, CWE plans to continue growing its programs serving immigrants.