On Friday, May 20, the beautiful new offices of Cabrini Immigrant Services of NY at 701 Fort Washington Avenue were blessed by Fr. Tom Faiola, OFM, Cap. The ceremony was followed by a picnic on the lawn with the Missionary Sisters and staff from CIS-NYC and St Frances Cabrini Shrine.
Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC has finally moved to our new location!
We opened our doors on the St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Shrine property on Monday, May 2nd.
After almost 23 years at 139 Henry Street, we saw the need to move our offices to the upper side of Manhattan. We believe the services we offer are also needed by the community of Inwood and the surrounding neighborhoods. The big difference is that our food pantry needed to be relocated at 207 Street at the Good Shepherd Parish to share the space with their food pantry however, it will continue to be under our care.
The legal services are now offered at our new location.
As we opened our doors we welcomed our clients with joy and a sense of newness since the place is brand new to all of us. In our new surroundings, sometimes we get lost searching for someone’s office – but, we just laugh about it.
Now we are able to offer to our clients a better space in which to visit and to receive the services they need.
All of us are happy for having a place where we feel at home.
After months of deliberation, we have decided to relocate our office to another part of the city to continue the mission of bringing God’s love to vulnerable communities. On May 2nd, our office will officially open at the St. Frances Cabrini Shrine in Washington Heights (701 Fort Washington Ave, New York, NY 10040). Our Food Pantry will also be located nearby at the Church of the Good Shepherd (608 Isham Street, New York, NY 10034). We will be forever grateful to the Lower East Side/Chinatown community for welcoming us and allowing us to be of service. We will not forget the gestures, both big and small, that made us feel welcomed and at home in this neighborhood.
We are looking forward to continuing our work, strengthening existing relationships, and building new relationships in our new neighborhood. All of our programs will continue to operate and serve clients from all over New York City, as they have for many years. This new, larger space will provide more opportunities for growth for our organization, and the possibility of exciting new projects as we continue to expand.
Thank you for supporting us through many transitions, moments of growth, and challenges over the past two decades. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us more than ever the importance of community, and we are grateful to have you as part of ours.
Should you have any questions about our move or need additional support, please feel free to reach out to us! Thank you again for your support through this transition.
The Cabrini Mission Foundation responds with boldness and urgency to the unmet needs of the most vulnerable, especially when there are those in need in our own community. During the summer season, our team worked with Cabrini Immigrant Services’ NYC Food Pantry, and has been dedicated to supporting and feeding more than 200 families each week.
Whether it was lugging groceries up numerous flights of stairs or working as a team to fill the bags of food, our Sisters, staff, and volunteers worked tirelessly to provide meals for the disadvantaged. Though many of us come from different backgrounds, speak different languages or come from various parts of the world, we came together to “answer the call” for help, as Mother Cabrini did throughout her lifetime ~ CMF website
On July 23rd, a group of 50 Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC members and staff attended the Immigrants are Essential Rally in New York City. CIS-NYC and over 1,000 New Yorkers marched through Chinatown and shut down the Manhattan Bridge as part of a nationwide day of action to demand a pathway to citizenship be included in the next federal infrastructure package.
Recently, Congressional Democrats announced that their infrastructure package would include a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders and Essential Workers. This rally was part of ongoing efforts to pressure Congress to show leadership and take action to ensure that a pathway to citizenship becomes reality now, after decades of empty promises.
WASHINGTON (CNS) – Catholic immigration advocates are urging Congress and President Joe Biden to speed up legislation to protect immigrants after a federal judge ruled July 16 to end a program that prevents the deportation of thousands of immigrants brought into the U.S. illegally as children. These groups immediately took to social media to respond to the decision by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, who said the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, was illegal.
His ruling, which plaintiffs plan to appeal, bars the government from approving any new applications to the program but leaves it open for current participants. The decision means that “tens of thousands of people who applied but had their initial cases stuck in limbo due to crisis-level processing delays…will not receive life-altering protection from deportation or stability, security, opportunity,” tweeted Lisa Parisio, Director of Advocacy for Catholic Legal Immigration Network or CLINIC.
Hanen ruled in favor of Texas and eight other states that filed suit in 2018 against DACA on the ground that former President Obama, who created the program by executive order in 2012, did not have the authority to do so because he bypassed Congress. The states that joined Texas in the lawsuit – Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia – also said the program has been a financial strain.
DACA has enabled about 700,000 qualifying young people, described as Dreamers to work, go to college, get health insurance, a driver’s license and not face deportation.
Just last year, the Supreme Court ruled against efforts by the Trump administration to end the program, saying the actions taken to rescind it had been “arbitrary and capricious.” A federal judge at the end of last year ordered the Trump administration to fully restore DACA.
In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the USCCB urged President Trump to “strongly reconsider terminating DACA” and they also urged U.S. senators to “ immediately pass legislation that provides a path to citizenship” for Dreamers, stressing that this kid of “permanent legislative protection” is long overdue.
Advocates had similar pleas right after Hanen’s ruling.
“Texas does not have the right to dictate federal immigration policy or to upend the lives of hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients. Congress and the President must act decisively and swiftly to enact lasting protections for Dreamers, including a pathway to citizenship, tweeted Hope Border Institute.
Similarly, the Cabrini Immigrant Services of New York tweeted, “We demand that Congress and @POTUS take immediate action to provide a pathway to citizenship. We cannot wait any longer. There are NO excuses.”
Biden pledged to protect DACA in his presidential campaign, and he has since proposed legislation that would provide immigrants with a pathway to citizenship. DACA supporters have long insisted that it’s up to Congress to pass legislation that would provide Dreamers with permanent relief.
Hanen similarly indicated that Congress needs to step in. When he rejected Texas’ request in 2018 to end DACA through a preliminary injunction, he wrote at the time: “If the nation truly wants to have a DACA program, it is up to Congress to say so.” To access the full article click here
On May 8th and 15th the Justice for Immigrants (JFI) Program at Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC held a popular education leadership training for our community members. Ten members graduated from the program, where they learned and engaged in dialogue about a range of topics, including: the history of immigration in the U.S.; systemic oppression; the historical context of white supremacy and xenophobia; how immigration intersects with other social movements; tactics for community organizing; how to tell your story; methods of self-care; and more.
The ten graduates included both long time participants and new members who have been participating in our JFI membership meetings and organizing committees. Two of the graduates were recently selected to serve as the first member fellows for the JFI Program and will be supporting JFI’s outreach, community education, and organizing efforts.
We look forward to seeing how each of the graduates use their skills to advocate for their community as members of JFI and beyond!
If you’re interested in learning more about our community education and organizing work, follow CIS-NYC on social media where we post frequent updates, resources, and opportunities to engage. Facebook: www.facebook.com/cisnyc, Twitter: @cisnyc, Instagram: @cis.nyc
In recent months, CIS-NYC Justice for Immigrants (JFI) members, leaders, and staff have been advocating for the passage of the New York HERO Act, which would put in place workplace standards to prevent exposure to COVID-19 and future airborne diseases. Currently, New York State is going through a deadly surge of COVID-19 while essential workers continue to work without mandated protections.
In March alone over 2,500 New Yorkers died from COVID-19. Essential Workers–mostly black and brown New Yorkers–have kept our state moving and served our communities over the last year, and continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic. Despite their sacrifices, the state still has no workplace standards to prevent exposure to COVID-19. As dangerous new variants of the virus spread it is critical that we keep workers and communities safe.
Last week, CIS-NYC Justice For Immigrant (JFI) staff and members participated in a virtual press conference attended by workers, allies, elected officials, and press. One of JFI’s leaders, Eduardo, spoke about his family’s experience getting sick with COVID-19 as the result of unsafe working conditions. Another leader, Felipe, created a video advocating for the passage of the bill, which you can view here.
Now, after months of advocacy, we are celebrating two exciting victories! As of this week, both the New York State Senate and Assembly have passed the NY HERO Act, due to the unwavering advocacy of workers and allies. Now it is up to Governor Cuomo to sign the bill as soon as it reaches his desk.
~ by Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service
Washington – In oral arguments on November 30, the Supreme Court weighed in on President Donald Trump’s order to exclude immigrants living in the country illegally from the 2020 census for purposes of redrawing congressional districts.
The justices, who heard arguments in Trump v. New York by teleconference, questioned the scope of those who would be excluded and also the length of time it would take to undergo this “monumental task,” as Justice Samuel Alito described it.
During the 90-minute arguments, Auxiliary Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville of Washington, who is chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, issued a statement: “Denying the undocumented and the states in which they reside their rightful representation in Congress is counter to the Constitution and makes people feel invisible and not valued as human beings.”
“The church’s teaching is clear: Human dignity is most sacred, regardless of legal status,” he said. “For that reason, we once again affirm the need to count all persons in the census, as well as in the apportionment of congressional representatives.”
The USCCB, along with other Catholic organizations, also filed a friend-of-the-court brief in this case, arguing that excluding those without legal documentation from the apportionment base of the census sends a message that these individuals are not equal members of the human family, which contradicts the dignity of all people and violates the U.S. Constitution and the Census Act.
Since the census started in 1790, its practice has been to count all people living in the U.S.
The point of counting everyone was raised by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who told Acting Solicitor General Jeff Wall, who was representing the Trump administration: “A lot of the historical evidence and long-standing practice really cuts against your position.”
After President Trump issued his order on excluding unauthorized immigrants, the chairmen of two USCCB committees described the action as “simply wrong and divisive.” They urged him to rescind it and make “efforts to protect and heal our nation and all who are living in our country.”
Catholic groups advocating for immigrant communities similarly expressed displeasure.
“This is nothing but an unconstitutional and xenophobic attempt to weaponize the census to silence and scare immigrants. The immigrant community will not be silenced,” tweeted Cabrini Immigrant Services of New York City back in July.
The Hope Border Institute tweeted: “The Constitution says the Census must count everyone, no exceptions.”
~ Chris Herlinger, Global Sisters Report
This article was published today on the Global Sisters Report website: https://www.globalsistersreport.org
New York: On the last Tuesday of October, a line of about 60 people, orderly and quiet, wrapped around the block that houses the social service agency Cabrini Immigrant Services of New York City and neighboring St. Teresa’s Church, waiting for the weekly food pantry to open.
At the head of the line stood Sr. Yolanda Flores attentively checking IDs, patiently answering questions and making sure that things ran smoothly. They nearly always do, even with an increased demand for food in the midst of a difficult time in the neighborhood.
Flores, a Nicaraguan-born member of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Cabrini Immigrant Services’ family program coordinator, helps organize the Tuesday morning distribution from one of the largest weekly food pantries in this part of Manhattan, anchored in the Chinatown area. Though the food pantry is among its most visible programs, the agency also provides legal services and education, cultural and family programming.
Pre-pandemic, the weekly pantry would provide food for about 200 – 300 people; now, the numbers have roughly doubled.
“The pandemia has been a real challenge,” Flores said during a short break during the morning’s activities which began at about 7:30 a.m. By about 10 a.m. or so, the food packages were nearly cleared out; the demand often outstrips what is available.
That is a source of frustration, Flores said, but it is not surprising. Most of those receiving packages – which on this day included a frozen chicken, milk, tea, rice, beans, potatoes and other vegetables – are elderly neighborhood residents, nearly all Asian, who themselves may not be working but have younger family members who have lost jobs during the economic downturn. “No work, no jobs,” said Flores.
Cabrini had to adjust and retool during the pandemic. Cabrini’s executive director, Javier Ramirez Baron, said that the staff and the agency’s clients have weathered a challenging moment well. “It’s a huge change, but, it’s worked great,” said Ramirez who estimates that the agency has assisted more that 50,000 people since it was founded in 1999.
He said clients, staff and volunteers have all adapted, switching many programs – legal services, individual counseling, community workshops and even Zumba exercise classes – onto platforms like Zoom and Facebook.
“Sometimes, in a moment of crisis, you have to discover ways to be creative,” said Ramirez, who is originally from Colombia.
With Missionary Sisters working and volunteering at the agency, and with the agency a sponsored congregational ministry, ties to the congregation continue. The focus of that agency’s mission remains assisting immigrants in the New York City metropolitan area, including 800 families who regularly receive food packages.
While efforts to continue support to the immigrant community are ongoing, Ramirez said that the pandemic came at a tumultuous time: In the last four years, immigrants in the United States have faced cultural and political headwinds, with the Trump administration instituting tougher immigration policies that have made life more difficult for those seeking to enter the country legally.
Sr. Flores and other Missionary Sisters who have worked with Cabrini Immigrant Services through the years are mindful and proud of the legacy bestowed on them and their congregation. “The dignity and respect of the other person is so important to us,” Flores said. “So is welcoming. That’s one of the legacies she passed on to us.”
Certainly, a feeling of hope and love were on display during the recent Tuesday morning food distribution. Things bustled, with food packages carefully put out and then distributed outside.
Missionary Sister Antonina Avitabile was there, working in tandem with fellow volunteers Heather Lee and Margarita Tlaseca Vides and food pantry manager Jo Lee.
Here, you hear a number of different languages – English, Mandarin, Spanish, French – and it not too hard to imagine that Mother Cabrini would be proud of the work. “It’s a blessing to see us working together, all different nationalities,” Avitabile said. “Here, we all lend a hand together.”