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ATLAS:DIY BLOG

July 27, 2011
Immigrant Rights: A Guide from the Manhattan Borough President

Wanted to post the below message about important resources for immigrants in NYC. Know your rights and Empower Yourself!

Dear Friend:

 

I wanted to take a minute and tell you about an important new resource for Immigrant New Yorkers that my office has recently unveiled.

We all know how tough it is to get basic information about our city, because navigating New York can be daunting for just about anyone.  But imagine what it’s like when you are among the nearly 40 percent of New Yorkers born in another country, and need guidance on a multitude of issues.

This need is particularly acute in New York, where almost half the population speaks a language other than English at home.  And that’s why my office has just released the “Immigrant Rights and Services Manual,” a 69-page document in Chinese and Spanish translations that focuses on issues of vital importance to newly-arrived New Yorkers — ranging from health care, education, housing and voting to deportation and detention, consumer rights, domestic violence and small business information.

We published an English version of this manual last year, and it was a milestone in its own right.  But our new translations will be reaching many of the people who can benefit the most from this information, and I am gratified by the immediate response we have received.  Newspaper stories about the manual, for example, have appeared in publications representing many immigrant communities including El Diario, NY1 Noticias, World Journal, Sing Tao Daily, Korea Daily, China Press, Sinovision and NY Daily News, and we are currently preparing a new translation in Korean.  When funding becomes available, subsequent editions of the manual in Russian and French will also be published.

This manual is not just a document.  It is the basis for an entire educational and advocacy campaign to ensure that immigrants have the tools to access and understand the web of government benefits, regulations and services that are available to them.  And we aren’t just stopping there: In the coming weeks my office will be helping to sponsor workshops for Chinese and Spanish-speaking residents on how to use the manual in everyday life.

In the year since our manual first appeared, we have received positive feedback from major immigrant rights organizations and leaders.  Now, as more individual New Yorkers become familiar with these manuals, I hope they reinforce something all of us know: Immigrants helped build this City, and they continue to enrich New York in so many ways.  Making it easier for them to adjust to life here is not simply a choice for us to make.  It is a responsibility that New York will gladly assume for years to come.

I want to thank a number of community organizations who worked with us to prepare these manuals, including the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, CUNY Citizenship and Immigration Project, Families for Freedom, MFY Legal Services, MinKwon Center for Community Action, Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project, New York State Defenders Association Immigration Defense Project, and our very own Manhattan Borough President’s Immigrant Rights Task Force.

Best,

Scott M. Stringer,
Manhattan Borough President

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