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New immigrant and refugee centers open in New York


Lydia Kalinina

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In New York, additional centers are being opened to receive refugees who have come to the city from the Mexican border. Until today, they were served by one office in midtown Manhattan, now they will expand it, and add 10 centers in all five boroughs of the Big Apple.

Photo: Lydia Kalinina

This large, bright building at 49 West in Midtown Manhattan is the headquarters of the American Red Cross. Since September, they have been accepting refugees here, who in the summer began to be brought en masse from the Mexican border and settled in local shelters. Now the city authorities are expecting a new surge of immigrants - and are expanding their assistance. In the center in Midtown, in addition to the third floor, a fourth will be given for refugee affairs, and auxiliary offices will be placed in the remaining four districts of the cities - Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island.

Everything an immigrant needs under one roof

The idea of ​​the center is to maximize the concentration of various city services in one place. In the new centers, people will be consulted by lawyers, here it will be possible to solve all issues related to the education of children, get a preferential MetroCard and New York City ID, as well as receive medical advice, emotional support, and advice on finding a job. To do this, you will not need to travel around the city - you just need to move from room to room, from specialist to specialist.

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The following community organizations have been selected as new centers:

  • Aid for Aids International (131 Varick Street. Suite 1006 New York, NY 10013);
  • African Communities Together (ACT) (127 W 127th St, New York, NY 10027);
  • Catholic Charities Community Services, Archdiocese of New York (1011 1st Ave. Floor 11, New York, NY 10022);
  • Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services Brooklyn & Queens (191 Joralemon St, Brooklyn, NY 11201);
  • Coalicion Mexicana (389 E 150th St, The Bronx, NY 10455);
  • La Colmena (774 Port Richmond Ave, Staten Island, NY 10302);
  • Make the Road NY (301 Grove St, Brooklyn, NY 11237);
  • Mercy Center (377 E 145th St, The Bronx, NY 10454);
  • Mixteca Organization (245 23rd St #2, Brooklyn, NY 11215);
  • New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) (71-29 Roosevelt Ave 2nd Floor, Queens, NY 11372).

According to Manuel Castro, the city's immigration official, there are three main criteria that a person must meet in order to receive help at such a center:

  • enter the country after January 1, 2022;
  • have on hand documents showing that he has applied for asylum at the border;
  • have proof of residence in New York.

“Of course, if you come and say, for example, that you are waiting for an asylum interview from 2021, we will not tell you to leave. We will find how to help you. But it will not be within the framework of this program. Or, for example, we also work with the same Ukrainians who come under the U4U program, but we provide them with other services. The same program is mainly designed for the inhabitants of shelters, where people brought from the Mexican border live.”, Castro noted.

Photo: Lydia Kalinina

“We don't know what to expect”

It was decided to expand the network of refugee centers in the city in connection with the uncertain position of Washington. According to Castro, it is not clear what to expect after the US Department of Justice suspends the controversial section of Section 21 on December 42. Recall that it came into force under the pretext of the COVID-19 pandemic, when, in connection with the epidemic, the Department of Homeland Security was allowed to send migrants back to Mexico or their home countries without allowing them to seek asylum.

Section 42 will now be replaced by Section 8, which allows migrants to apply for asylum at places of entry, but leaves the US government the right to deport anyone who does not qualify for asylum.

“We do not yet know how events will develop, but we are building infrastructure. We opened our first refugee center in September, after people were brought to New York by bus from the Mexican border. In four months of operation, 7000 people visited it”Manuel Castro said.

New York City Hall estimates that about 30 migrants have arrived in the city this year. Many of them were sent by bus from Texas by the governor of this state, Greg Abbott. Of these, about 000 still live in the urban network of shelters, so they tried to place new centers in places with a high concentration of such shelters.

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