CARECEN Gala

CARECEN’s Annual Gala will be held November 19, 2015 at Verdi’s in Westbury. The dinner begins at 6:30PM.

Verdi’s is located at 680 Old Country Rd, Westbury, NY 11590 (516) 334-4552.

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Child Refugees from Central America

unaccompanied child

The Child Refugee influx over the summer was never a crisis for Long Island, but it is a crisis for the children, their families, and the people trying to serve them.

We currently have two full time lawyers on staff serving these children. You may have seen a press conference in our office two weeks ago reported on in Newsday on the funding of the second position. We are doing full representation intakes for at least 15 new children each week. Typically a single attorney can represent 40 such cases in a year, so you can see that we will exceed existing capacity for the two lawyers by the end of March. We currently have more than 60 children who have full representation intakes already scheduled for the remainder of March.

CARECEN also has one of the attorneys spend every Friday at the Immigration Court at 26 Federal Plaza in Manhattan to speak to the children from Long Island before they go in for their first appearance before an immigration judge. The lawyer orients them to the legal system,advises the children on their rights, and begins the process of matching the child up with legal services. This work is done in coordination with a group of non-profit organizations put together by the New York Immigration Coalition.

The arrivals of new Central American Child Refugees at the border has returned to pre-2014 levels, however, children continue to arrive on Long Island from shelters and detention facilities around the United States. And, in spite of the publicity around the “Rocket Docket” which supposedly scheduled children in court within weeks of their arrest, in fact we are seeing that a majority of the children coming in have are scheduled for court appointments in March of this year even though they were taken into custody by the Border Patrol in August or September.

Even the children who have had their first appearance in court do not have new hearings until this Spring or early Summer. The legal process has just begun for nearly all of them.

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Pathway to Citizenship on Telemundo

telemundo elise

Telemundo did a major piece on the new Pathway to Citizenship program at CARECEN:

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Volunteers Help Legal Residents Apply for Citizenship in Westbury

pathway westburyLast Saturday, CARECEN kicked off the next phase of its civic engagement campaign, the recruitment of permanent residents to apply for citizenship. Until the roughly 100,000 permanent residents living in Nassau and Suffolk counties become citizens, the full voice of Long Island’s immigrants will never be heard.

Before 1980, very few immigrants lived on Long Island. Large permanent resident communities did not develop until 15 years ago. This means that our immigrant communities here are relatively new and that they do not have a tradition of transitioning to citizenship. Citizenship drives are being held in villages throughout Long Island to jump start people on the pathway to citizenship. July’s event focused on Westbury in central Nassau County.

St. Brigid’s Church helped conduct door-to-door outreach in Westbury and New Cassel. Particular attention was paid to getting local business owners involved in informing their customers about the upcoming Citizenship Day. The church also publicized the event in the parish bulletin and distributed flyers after the three Spanish masses. Members of New York Communities for Change did outreach at a local Haitian church.

Seven lawyers and law students provided free assistance to anyone who wanted to apply for citizenship. The volunteer lawyers were trained in citizenship by CARECEN. Volunteer translators were also recruited.

Other partners in the Pathway to Citizenship program were on hand that day. These included Bethpage Federal Credit Union, which provides innovative microloans to applicants; United Way, which handles financial counseling; and the New York State Department of Labor, which assists immigrant professionals in getting licensed in the U.S. Citi Bank’s Pat Edwards was there as well. Citi is the project’s major funder.

Over the course of the event, volunteers completed citizenship applications for 19 immigrants. This was the most successful Citizenship Day so far on Long Island. While it was a big achievement, it was only the first step. CARECEN will begin free civics classes in Hempstead next week to help applicants prepare for the citizenship test.

The next Citizenship Day will be in Brentwood on August 2 at the Make the Road office at 1090 Suffolk Avenue, Brentwood, NY 11717.

For more information on upcoming Citizenship Days, or to host one in your community, contact us at 516-489-8330.

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An Affordable and Trustworthy Path to Citizenship for LI Immigrants

pathway free citizenship helpWhen I came to CARECEN’s office in Hempstead yesterday, the first thing my receptionist told me was that dozens of people had called to find out how they could become citizens. While 90 percent of our clients are Latino, the folks calling were from countries throughout the world. They were calling in response to the publicity around the launch of the new Pathway to Citizenship LI project.

What that report tells me is that there is a huge interest among the 100,000 or so lawful permanent residents living on Long Island in becoming citizens, but little understanding of the process. Like everything in our immigration system, the naturalization process is unnecessarily complex. The complexity forces people to use lawyers, and lawyers cost money. Fees of well-over $500 are common.

There is also a lot of mistrust of lawyers by immigrants. First, immigrants often pay people to provide legal services who are not lawyers at all but who present themselves as such. These fake lawyers and “Notarios” do a lot of damage and often steal their clients’ money.

Many immigrants have also had the experience of real lawyers not fully disclosing the true costs of representation. The lawyer may cite one fee, but as the process rolls along, the fees increase and proliferate. Then there is the persistent problem of shoddy services by some lawyers.

The Pathway to Citizenship project is great, in part, because the lawyers’ fees have already been picked up by Citibank and Bethpage Federal Credit Union. The cost of preparing the application is now free to the client. The immigrant still has to pay the application fees that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) charges, but there is no fee for the attorney’s services. And for those who cannot afford the $680 DHS fee, Bethpage Federal Credit Union offers micro loans with manageable payment plans.

Also, when immigrants call CARECEN, they know that we are not advising them to do something that might be against their long-term interests. Since there is no profit for us in persuading them to apply, we always give them a realistic assessment of their cases’ chances.

Please call CARECEN at 516-489-8330 for more information.

-Pat Young

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Pathway to Citizenship Now Open to Long Island Immigrants

pathway kickoffOn Tuesday I addressed a room filled with people who had come to hear about a new program to help permanent residents apply for citizenship. I found it a happy contrast to the situation on Long Island a half-decade earlier.

Five years ago, reporters gathered here on Long Island to cover the hate killing of Ecuadoran immigrant Marcelo Lucero in Patchogue. Over the preceding decade, stories on immigrants being abducted and beaten, and immigrant housing being firebombed were common Long Island stories.

Much has changed since then. Both Nassau and Suffolk Counties have new policies making county government more accessible. The Suffolk County police, under monitoring from the United States Department of Justice, is making strides in protecting immigrant communities. And most importantly, Long Islanders and Long Island businesses are recognizing the contributions of immigrants and standing up for their rights.

This new Pathway to Citizenship LI program announced Tuesday will give immigrant Long Islanders the most important tool they need to thrive here—the right to vote and to participate fully in civic life. That so many sectors of our community support this important initiative—including Citibank to Bethpage Federal Credit, the Governor’s office to the Secretaries of State and Labor, the Hempstead Mayor’s office, and many non-profits—shows that we are turning our backs on the haters. Long Island is moving forward.

Long Island has more immigrants than any other suburban community in the United States. With 450,000 foreign-born living here, we are a bigger immigrant gateway than cities like Boston and Philadelphia. Our immigrant community includes more than 100,000 legal permanent residents eligible for citizenship, and this new program helps to create a pathway for them to become fully part of Long Island life.

Those who come to CARECEN for help under the Pathway program will be given free professional legal assistance to apply for citizenship. They will be eligible for free classes to help prepare for the citizenship exam and for their naturalization interview. Those who can’t afford the Department of Homeland Security’s fee for naturalization will be assisted in applying for a waiver, or may qualify for a micro-loan to help pay.

To access this comprehensive program, interested individuals should call 516-489-8330.

-Pat Young

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CARECEN 30th Anniversary Dinner Nov. 21, 2013

ImageThe Central American Refugee Center – CARECEN (NY)
Cordially invites you to join us
for an evening of fine food and good cheer
to celebrate our
30Years of Advocacy and Service to the L. I. Immigrant Community:
Thursday N ovember1 2013 at 6:30 PM
Verdi’s of Westbury, 680 Old Country Rd., Westbtry, NY
Tickets: $80 per person Table of 10: $675 Wine & Beer gratis
Proceeds to benefit CARECEN’s advocacy and services for L.I. immigrants & refugees
RSVP by November 15, 2013 (516) 489-8330 or (631) 273-8759
mircare cen@yahoo.com kencare cen@yahoo.com
HONORING
Robert Keeler
Former lt{ewsdayE ditorial Writer, and Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist
Susan Hagedorn
Filmmaker & Founder of Seedworks Films, Nursing Advocate & Philanthropist
Gregory Maney Gilda Ramos
Professor of Sociology at Hofstra University Award-Winning Latino Community Paralibrarian
Mirna Cort6s-Obers
CARECEN Community Development Director

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Why You Should Become A Citizen

Image As a permanent resident, you have most of the rights of U.S. citizens. However, there are many important reasons to consider U.S. citizenship. Citizenship offers new rights and privileges, but comes with equally important responsibilities. As a citizen you can:

  • Vote.
    Only citizens can vote in federal elections. Most states also restrict the right to vote, in most elections, to U.S. citizens.
  • Serve on a jury.
    Only U.S. citizens can serve on a federal jury. Most states also restrict jury service to U.S. citizens. Serving on a jury is an important responsibility for U.S. citizens.
  • Travel with a U.S. passport.
    A U.S. passport enables you to get assistance from the U.S. government when overseas, if necessary.
  • Bring family members to the U.S.
    U.S. citizens generally get priority when petitioning to bring family members permanently to this country.
  • Obtain citizenship for children under 18 years of age.
    In most cases, a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen is automatically a U.S. citizen.
  • Apply for federal jobs.
    Certain jobs with government agencies require U.S. citizenship.
  • Become an elected official.
    Only citizens can run for federal office (U.S. Senate or House of Representatives) and for most state and local offices.
  • Keep your residency.
    A U.S. citizen’s right to remain in the United States cannot be taken away.
  • Become eligible for federal grants and scholarships.
    Many financial aid grants, including college scholarships and funds given by the government for specific purposes, are available only to U.S. citizens.
  • Obtain government benefits.
    Some government benefits are available only to U.S. citizens.
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Join the Movement for Immigration Reform

pete king rallyThousands of long Islanders are mobilizing to win immigration reform this year. You can join the movement for change.

Join us on Thursday August 22nd for a demonstration outside the Varick Detention Center located at 201 Varick St in Manhattan to protest the House of Representatives’ failure to act on real immigration reform.

Our communities will not stand for further delay on reform that protects the dignity of all and keeps families together. We will continue to highlight the inhumanity of the detention and deportation of our immigrant families and communities until just and humane immigration reform is passed.

Will you stand with us to tell Congress that the time is now to reform our broken system?

What do we want? Citizenship for all! An end to the massive deportation and detention regime! Equal rights and a fair day in court for every member of our community!

Please note trained leaders will be engaging in civil disobedience at this event, which has been coordinated with the NYPD. All other protestors will stand in solidarity at the event but will not face arrest. Please contact rrchanges@gmail.com for more information and to RSVP. Thank you!
– See more at: http://nysiaf.org/2013/08/21/aug-22-nyc-rally-for-immigration-reform/#sthash.ko72cnft.dpuf

Join us on Thursday August 22nd for a demonstration outside the Varick Detention Center located at 201 Varick St in Manhattan to protest the House of Representatives’ failure to act on real immigration reform.

Our communities will not stand for further delay on reform that protects the dignity of all and keeps families together. We will continue to highlight the inhumanity of the detention and deportation of our immigrant families and communities until just and humane immigration reform is passed.

Will you stand with us to tell Congress that the time is now to reform our broken system?

What do we want? Citizenship for all! An end to the massive deportation and detention regime! Equal rights and a fair day in court for every member of our community!

Please note trained leaders will be engaging in civil disobedience at this event, which has been coordinated with the NYPD. All other protestors will stand in solidarity at the event but will not face arrest. Please contact rrchanges@gmail.com for more information and to RSVP. Thank you!

– See more at: http://nysiaf.org/2013/08/21/aug-22-nyc-rally-for-immigration-reform/#sthash.ko72cnft.dpuf

Join us on Thursday August 22nd for a demonstration outside the Varick Detention Center located at 201 Varick St in Manhattan to protest the House of Representatives’ failure to act on real immigration reform.

Our communities will not stand for further delay on reform that protects the dignity of all and keeps families together. We will continue to highlight the inhumanity of the detention and deportation of our immigrant families and communities until just and humane immigration reform is passed.

Will you stand with us to tell Congress that the time is now to reform our broken system?

What do we want? Citizenship for all! An end to the massive deportation and detention regime! Equal rights and a fair day in court for every member of our community!

Please note trained leaders will be engaging in civil disobedience at this event, which has been coordinated with the NYPD. All other protestors will stand in solidarity at the event but will not face arrest. Please contact rrchanges@gmail.com for more information and to RSVP. Thank you!

– See more at: http://nysiaf.org/2013/08/21/aug-22-nyc-rally-for-immigration-reform/#sthash.ko72cnft.dpuf

Join us on Thursday August 22nd for a demonstration outside the Varick Detention Center located at 201 Varick St in Manhattan to protest the House of Representatives’ failure to act on real immigration reform.

Our communities will not stand for further delay on reform that protects the dignity of all and keeps families together. We will continue to highlight the inhumanity of the detention and deportation of our immigrant families and communities until just and humane immigration reform is passed.

Will you stand with us to tell Congress that the time is now to reform our broken system?

What do we want? Citizenship for all! An end to the massive deportation and detention regime! Equal rights and a fair day in court for every member of our community!

Please note trained leaders will be engaging in civil disobedience at this event, which has been coordinated with the NYPD. All other protestors will stand in solidarity at the event but will not face arrest. Please contact rrchanges@gmail.com for more information and to RSVP. Thank you!

– See more at: http://nysiaf.org/2013/08/21/aug-22-nyc-rally-for-immigration-reform/#sthash.ko72cnft.dpuf

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CARECEN Annual Dinner

CARECEN dinner 008CARECEN will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year with a gala party in November.

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