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Press Release

City Council Speaker Quinn, Council Members Dromm, Recchia & CUNY Announce Free Citywide Legal Services for Immigrants

THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

City Hall
New York, NY 10007
(212) 788-7116
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE** 
September 3, 2012

Contact: (212) 788-7116
Please email photo requests to walatriste@council.nyc.gov 
Release #: 145-2012

City Council Speaker Quinn, Council Members Dromm, Recchia & CUNY Announce Free Citywide Legal Services for Immigrants

Council Initiative Brings CUNY Citizenship Now! Services to 30 City Neighborhoods

New York City – Today, New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Council Committee on Immigration Chair Daniel Dromm, and Committee on Finance Chair Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. announced a new partnership with CUNY Citizenship Now! that will provide free high-quality and confidential legal immigration services to help individuals and families on their path to U.S. citizenship. The services, which begin October 1, 2012, will be offered at 30 different locations on a weekly or monthly basis over the next year. Speaker Quinn first announced this initiative in her February 2012 State of the City address.

Through the $600,000 City Council funded program, qualified attorneys and paralegals will offer one-on-one consultations and assist qualified immigrants with applying for citizenship at 30 new locations throughout the five boroughs. New Yorkers will have access to a variety of legal services including green card applications, deferred action, citizenship interview coaching and more.

“Thousands of immigrants who contribute to our economy, our culture, our city are often unable to pursue full citizenship because of prohibitive legal costs," said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “By partnering with CUNY Citizenship Now, we are ensuring that we are doing everything in our power to protect this precious resource, and support the great diversity of our city.”

“Immigrants are a vital part of our city,” said Council Committee on Finance Chair Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. “New York has always attracted people from across the world to come here and start new businesses, create jobs and contribute to our city’s economy. We must do all we can to keep our diverse immigrant communities thriving and successful. I want to thank CUNY Citizenship Now! for partnering with the Council to provide these vital services.”

“Citizenship Now! has an outstanding record of accomplishment helping our immigrant communities,” said Council Committee on Immigration Chair Daniel Dromm. “I am very proud to have worked closely with Speaker Quinn to secure funding to help expand the services that Citizenship Now! offers.  By placing attorneys in Council district offices where the need for reliable legal services are most needed, Citizenship Now! will have a tremendous impact on our immigrant communities.  These services are desperately needed and CUNY Citizenship Now! is extremely well equipped to provide them.”

“CUNY Citizenship Now! thanks New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Council Committee on Immigration Chair Daniel Dromm, and Committee on Finance Chair Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. and the New York City Council for initiating this important partnership,” said  CUNY Senior Vice Chancellor Jay Hershenson. “New York’s immigrants anxiously look for the chance to become U.S. citizens, but legal resources far outstrip the need. This partnership will greatly increase the availability of free citizenship assistance in New York City.”

Currently, CUNY Citizenship Now! provides free services at six full-time centers and one part-time. This Council initiative allows for the free services to be offered weekly at seven Council members’ offices in Queens, five in Brooklyn, four in the Bronx, three in Manhattan and one in Staten Island and offered monthly at two offices in Queens, five in Brooklyn, two in the Bronx, one in Manhattan. Locations were selected by analyzing Citizenship Now! data from years past. For a complete list of locations, please see the bottom of this release or visit www.council.nyc.gov/immigration.

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of  Speaker Quinn’s August 15th announcement that the Council has allocated $3 million in funding to provide free legal services to New Yorkers affected by President Obama’s historic decision to defer deportation action for young immigrants. To date, the Legal Aid Society has already conducted six legal clinics and served nearly 400 clients with six additional clinics scheduled for September.

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