Resources for NYC immigrants

Resources for NYC immigrants
Naturalization candidates stand for the National Anthem on Friday, June 30, 2017, at the New York Public Library in New York. Over 190 immigrants from 59 countries became American citizens at the fourth annual Independence Day naturalization ceremony hosted by the library.
Associated Press / Michael Noble Jr.

Despite the onslaught by the Trump administration on undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants, New York City offers a wide array of resources for immigrants.

The Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Affairs provides a Resource and Referral Guide with information on services available to recently arrived immigrants.

The Office says that the guide is intended for use by New York City agencies, schools, nonprofit organizations and immigrants who may benefit from receiving information and referrals to City services and non-governmental resources that serve recently arrived immigrants.

All services in this guide are available to New Yorkers regardless of immigration status, unless otherwise specified.

The Office says City agencies are prohibited from asking about immigration status, “unless it is necessary to determine eligibility for a benefit or service.

“Any individual can voluntarily decline to provide information about immigration status,” the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Affairs said.

It said immigrants can get immigration and citizenship services, including: Requests for immigration or citizenship application forms; immigration application fees and fee schedules; and assistance when there are extended delays after an application has been submitted for citizenship, naturalization, a green card, work visa, asylum, and other immigration status information or benefits.

The New Americans Hotline also offers referrals to community organizations that can help with immigration legal issues, including deportation cases, applications for citizenship, green cards, Temporary Protective Status (TPS), Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP), and other immigration status information or benefits.

The Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Affairs said more than three million of New York City’s 8.2 million residents were born outside the United States.

The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) contracts with community-based organizations across all five boroughs that provide a range of services and support to new New Yorkers.

DYCD said services help immigrant families identify the “complex and multiple needs” of newly-arrived immigrant families with limited English proficiency (LEP).

DYCD also said services are offered in collaboration with a network of community-based providers, to ensure immigrants gain “access to relevant services that will help them prosper and become self-sufficient.”

For more information, call DYCD Youth Connect at: 1-800-246-4646.

The Immigrant Business Initiative provides business services to immigrant-owned businesses in New York City to help them start, operate and grow.

Immigrants can receive one-on-one counseling and attend business classes in: Bengali, Cantonese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish.

Complaints about businesses that provide immigration services include: Fraudulent or deceptive practices, including 10-year visa scams, offers to buy identification cards to prevent deportation; failure to complete a written contract before providing service; failure to give you a copy of each document prepared for you; and failure to inform you of your right to cancel the contract in three business days without penalty.

Other complaints include: Failure to post a bond of $50,000; failure to post a sign describing consumers’ rights; and failure to disclose that individuals providing assistance are not lawyers.

The Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Affairs said immigration service businesses cannot guarantee government action, such as the granting of residency, visas, passports, citizenship, or any other immigration status.

Immigrants can anonymously report an immigration service business that is committing fraud or using deceptive practices.

Immigration service providers must disclose that the individual providing assistance is not a lawyer and cannot accept fees for giving legal advice, drafting legal papers, or reviewing documents for legality, the Mayor’s Office said.

It said individuals providing assistance cannot represent you before immigration authorities.

“You can also make a complaint about providers’ failure to disclose that they are not lawyers,” the Mayor’s Office said.

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