Governor Cuomo Announces New “Know Your Rights” Seminars to Provide Up-To-Date Information And Support to Immigrants Across New York


Seminars Taking Place in the Mohawk Valley, New York City, and on Long Island

Continues Support of Liberty Defense Fund – 230 Private Sector Law Firms, Legal Departments, Bar Associations and Advocacy Organizations Providing Pro Bono Legal Services to Immigrants

Residents Seeking Information and Legal Counsel Urged to Call New Americans Hotline: 1-800-566-7636

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced additional “Know Your Rights” seminars being offered by New York Department of State’s Office for New Americans. The seminars complement efforts of the Liberty Defense Fund, the nation’s first public-private immigrant legal defense initiative, to ensure impacted residents and communities across New York understand their rights and legal opportunities. The New York Department of State, two dedicated philanthropic allies—the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Ford Foundation—and a statewide coalition of 182 advocacy organizations and legal entities, continue to work together to provide pro bono legal assistance and representation to immigrants, regardless of status, in New York State.

“As Washington continues to roll back rights of immigrants living throughout this state and nation, this administration is taking steps to ensure these New Yorkers know their rights and have access to legal services, as well as a chance to remain at home,” Governor Cuomo said. “In New York we know that our diversity is our strength and we will continue to uphold the principles of liberty and equality that this state and this nation were founded upon.”

Earlier in January, Governor Cuomo announced actions to protect thousands of immigrants from the Trump Administration’s decision to end Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans, Haitians and Hondurans, including the launch of the New Americans Hotline and upcoming Know Your Rights Seminars.

The Office for New Americans regularly conducts free “Know Your Rights” seminars, which are listed on the Office for New Americans website. Newly announced seminars are included below and locations and times will be updated online.

Tuesday, January 23

DACA from 4 – 6 p.m.
Host: CUNY CitizenshipNow!
119 West 31st Street, 4th floor
New York, NY 10001

DACA Know Your Rights at 5 p.m.
Host: CARECEN
2000 Brentwood Rd
Brentwood, NY

Wednesday, January 24

DACA Know Your Rights at 5 p.m.
Host: CARECEN
91 N. Franklin Street
Hempstead, NY

TPS Know Your Rights at 3:45 p.m.
Host: CARECEN
2000 Brentwood Rd
Brentwood, NY

Thursday, January 25

TPS Know Your Rights at 3:45 p.m.
Host: CARECEN
91 N. Franklin Street
Hempstead, NY

Thursday, February 1

Know Your Rights! Community Immigration Forum on TPS and DACA at 5 p.m.
Host: Queens Library
37-44 21st St
Long Island City, NY

Thursday, February 8

Know Your Rights Seminar
Host: Hispanic Federation and Make the Road New York
Location and Time TBD

Thursday, February 15

Know Your Rights Seminar
Host: Hispanic Federation and Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights
Location and Time TBD

Friday, March 16

DACA and TPS from 9:45 – 10:45 a.m.
Host: Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees
201 Bleecker Street
Utica, NY

 

Know Your Rights – TPS and DACA at 5 p.m.
Host: Queens Library
37-44 21st Street
Long Island City, NY

The Liberty Defense Project

The Liberty Defense Project was launched by the Governor in March 2017 with a commitment to support the public-private partnership. The investment included in the FY 2018 Budget committed $11 million toward the Project, in addition to $400,000 via public-private contributions. The Liberty Defense Project continues New York’s efforts to protect immigrants of all ages and backgrounds by providing legal services needed to remain in their home state.

In response to changes in immigration policies by the federal government, the Liberty Defense Project, in partnership with Equal Justice Works, has placed attorneys and law students in communities with limited legal resources and high immigrant populations to address the scarcity of immigration attorneys in areas outside New York City. The initiative also works with established state partners and immigrant advocates, including Catholic Charities, to help expand access to legal services for immigrants.

The Liberty Defense Project will continue to:

  • Provide legal assistance and representation to immigrants in New York State through a network of pro bono attorneys, other legal professionals and law students.
  • Assist immigrants in deportation proceedings.
  • Assist in completing and filing applications for lawful permanent residence (also known as a green card), or temporary status, as well as work permits.
  • Provide outreach and educational help to assist parents who are potentially at risk of deportation to fill appropriate forms and prepare emergency plans for the care of their children in case they are detained or deported.  This will enhance the work already being done at centers run by the State Office for New Americans throughout New York.

New York State is home to over 4.4 million immigrants, representing one out of every five New Yorkers. Immigrants contribute significantly to our state’s economy as business owners, workers, consumers, and taxpayers.

Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “The Liberty Defense Project provides timely and reliable services to immigrant communities – and it’s more important than ever to make sure individuals know that free help is available. In today’s climate, this project can change New Yorkers’ lives. New York will always fight for immigrant rights – no matter what draconian steps the federal government tries to instill on vulnerable communities.

Among the participants are several prominent multi-national law firms, the New York State Bar Association, and several other bar associations that focus on New York’s immigrant communities. The main project partners are: The Asian American Federation; Catholic Charities Community Services (Archdiocese of New York); Empire Justice Center; Hispanic Federation; New York Immigration Coalition; Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights; and The Vera Institute of Justice.

Attorneys or legal professionals interested in volunteering for the Liberty Defense Project may sign up here.

Protecting New York’s Immigrants
New York State has and continues to serve as a beacon for immigrants.  For the past five years, New York State, through the Office for New Americans, has helped immigrants fully participate in New York State civic and economic life through a network of 27 community-based centers around the state that provide English classes, civic education, guidance on how to start / grow a business, and naturalization assistance. ONA also has a hotline, a toll-free, multi-lingual information center, as well as a dedicated website that guides New Americans to available resources. The hotline number is 800-566-7636 (operating 9AM-8PM (ET), Monday through Friday) and the website is www.newamericans.ny.gov.

The Governor has taken aggressive steps to provide assistance to immigrant communities, including signing an Executive Order in 2011 to ensure language access across state agencies. The Governor also suspended the state’s participation in a federal program that required local law enforcement to help identify deportable individuals, signed legislation holding entities that defraud immigrants accountable, and established the Office for New Americans. He launched NaturalizeNY, the first public-private partnership of its kind to encourage and assist eligible immigrants in New York State with becoming U.S. citizens. As Attorney General, Governor Cuomo also worked to combat immigration fraud, having utilized general civil rights laws to successfully investigate and prosecute companies for defrauding immigrants. He also secured court judgments and settlements in excess of $23 million dollars on behalf of the state’s immigrant population.