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
With federal attacks on immigrants continuing, CWE plans to
continue growing its programs serving immigrants.