By LORETTA CHIN
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and immigration advocates announced on Tuesday a citywide series of workshops to inform immigrant families of their rights and services, and to protect them from fraud in the expected aftermath of immigration reform.
“This is a moment in history,” said Quinn, referring to potential scams by unscrupulous service providers. “This new law is going to give you an amazing opportunity to know your rights – don’t be a victim of fraud,”
Quinn made the announcement after a town hall meeting on the the economic benefits of the law at the Isabella Geriatric Center on Audubon Avenue in Washington Heights. Members of the New York Immigration Coalition, Hispanic Federation, La Fuente, Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, LULAC NY, Food Bank for New York City and many others were there in support of the initiative.
She said that the upcoming events would provide one-step access to key services for immigrants and include provisions for official identification, including passports and taxpayer identification numbers. The workshops are designed to connect immigrant families with services and inform them about the latest information about immigration reform, ensuring that they know where to go for correct information.
“We want people to know their rights, but that also means what rights and benefits they will be entitled to – things like food stamps…things like other government support,” said Quinn. “If immigration reform goes through, we want to make sure they get every resource they possibly can.”
Quinn’s office is working with roshe run hyp femmes consulates across the city with particular focus on those from South America. “We’ve already got commitments from Ecuador, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic and we believe that will be growing as we move forward,” said Quinn.
She reminded eligible New York immigrants who are over 15 and younger than 30 as of June 15, 2012 that they can continue to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), allowing them to continue to live and work in the United States regardless of the outcome of reform.
Congressman Charles Rangel praised Quinn for her leadership and pledged his support.
“I present to you our united effort to do the right thing behind this group that for so long have suffered the frustration of disappointment, discrimination, racism, indifference, and I guess, most of all, hypocrisy,” said Rangel. “For anybody in this country to ignore 10 or 15 million people, it just doesn’t make sense,”
“This is not only about helping other people, it’s also about helping our economics,” said Ydanis Rodriguez, chairman of the City Council Immigration Committee, noting that 11 million undocumented residents contribute billions of dollars to the economy and with a green card they would contribute $1.4 trillion in 10 years.
Photo by Loretta Chin.