City Council funding makes a difference for New York's immigrant families

 

Make the Road New York has partnered with CWE to provide Know Your Rights training to thousands of immigrant New Yorkers. 

 

Today, the City Council Committee on Immigration is holding its Executive Budget hearing. Since the Consortium for Worker Education launched our Immigrant Protection Services program two years ago, City Council funding has been key to ensuring that our city’s immigrant families have the resources they need.
 
So far, CWE partners have trained 15,000 immigrant New Yorkers with a Know Your Rights curriculum. These workshops give immigrants the tools to protect themselves during immigration enforcement in their neighborhood or workplace.
 
We urge the City Council to expand these services in this year’s budget, so we can provide Know Your Rights training to 7,500 more immigrant workers.
 
As CWE has built out our Immigrant Protection Services, we have partnered with established community organizations. Make the Road NY, Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, Yemeni American Merchants Association, HANAC, and other partners know the particular problems that residents of their communities are facing, and the hidden dangers that come with cookie-cutter solutions.
 
Our partners have been responding to aggressive immigration enforcement and heightened scrutiny of citizenship applications. Make the Road New York has organized defense committees within residential buildings and workplaces to help community members prepare for raids, and provided Know Your Rights training to thousands of New Yorkers.

 

Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights worker center graduates. 

 

Many of the Uptown residents that Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights (NMCIR) serves are Dominican Americans who immigrated starting in the 1980s, primarily with Green Cards that granted them legal permanent residency.
 
When immigrants get bad legal advice, it can put them at risk of deportation. So NMCIR has been providing direct legal services to community members and partnering with CWE to provide Know Your Rights workshops in Northern Manhattan.

 

Yemeni American Merchants Association provides English classes to empower women in their community.

 

Born from the 2017 Bodega Strike against the Muslim Ban, the Yemeni American Merchants Association (YAMA) has been working to empower its community members who have been targeted by immigration enforcement.
 
YAMA began discussions with CWE about an English as a Second Language (ESL) class last year.
 
“Within two weeks, we had 40 participants – all women in the Bronx – who wanted this,” says Dr. Debbie Almontaser, one of the organization’s founders. “When we started we didn’t even have furniture. They were sitting on the floor with notebooks. Once we had funding from CWE, we could buy furniture, whiteboards, materials, and books.”

 

CWE and Make the Road travel to Masjid Al-Ridwan Islamic Center in the Bronx to give an immigrant rights training to the mosque’s members. 

 

Other CWE partners with experience supporting immigrants are already hitting the ground running. Long-time CWE partner HANAC is providing Know Your Rights training to over 1,000 immigrants in the Queens and Northern Manhattan communities it serves, and one-on-one legal counseling.
 
The ANSOB Center for Refugees, based in Astoria, assists refugees with English and citizenship classes. Funding from CWE is allowing ANSOB to increase the number of refugees it is assisting with immigration legal services, and provide job readiness, resume writing, and job search training to the immigrant communities it serves.

 

CWE and Teamsters Local 272 provide immigrant rights training for union members.

 

CWE is also supporting New York unions who are working to defend their immigrant members. Teamsters Joint Council 16 became a sanctuary union last year after one of its members was deported and has partnered with CWE to train members to know their rights during a raid. Because union members are often on the front lines of protecting other immigrants, 1199 SEIU has developed a training manual to help its members champion immigrants’ healthcare access rights in the workplace.
 
To coordinate this work, CWE founded the Immigrant Protection Group with these community and labor partners. The organizations are able to share best practices, coordinate programming, and advise CWE on where immigrant services are most needed.
 
Our partners are having a real impact in New York’s vulnerable communities and we encourage the City Council to expand these services to 7,500 more New Yorkers through increased funding.