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Press Release

Mayor's Office Of Immigrant Affairs Awards Over $400,000 to Conduct Immigrant Rights Workshops

For Immediate Release: October 25, 2022
Contact: Shaina Coronel,

18 immigrant serving community organizations will receive funding to run Immigrant Rights Workshops in Hard-to-Reach Communities

New York – The Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) Commissioner Manuel Castro today announced over $400,000 of funding to be distributed to 18 immigrant serving organizations to conduct a series of Immigrant Rights Workshops (IRWs). These workshops will bring awareness to immigrant New Yorkers on their rights and the city resources available to them, regardless of immigration status.

"New York City has always been a city of immigrants who have immeasurably shaped and contributed to our city throughout the years. Now more than ever providing comprehensive information to the many immigrants who call NYC home is critical," said Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. "Immigrant Rights Workshops will empower and protect our immigrant community members by arming them with current information around important topics. I applaud MOIA and all of our CBO partners for continuing this crucial work."

"This administration is committed to reshaping how immigrant New Yorkers interact with city and state forces for the better," said Manuel Castro, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs. "I look forward to seeing how each organization transforms workshops to cater to their communities."

IRWs, formerly known as Know Your Rights workshops, will cover an array of topics, including how to navigate interactions with federal immigration enforcement, avoiding fraudulent legal services, accessing COVID-related services, and more. IRWs will also include appointments or referral for free and safe immigration legal and social services.

With funding from MOIA, each organization is expected to conduct IRWs over the course of 9 months. Awards for organizations were based on a funding line of $21,600, and organizations were welcomed to apply for up to two lines. In total, MOIA plans to disburse over $400,000 in funding for these workshops. The following community-based organizations will receive funding to conduct IRWs across the five boroughs:

  • African Communities Together (ACT)
  • Arab American Family Support Center (AAFSC)
  • Center for Family Life
  • Damayan
  • Diligently Serving Immigrants (DSI) International
  • Haitian Americans United for Progress (HAUP)
  • Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement
  • Korean Community Services
  • Laal
  • La Colmena
  • Life of Hope
  • Lutheran Social Services of NY (LSSNY)
  • Mexican Coalition
  • Mixteca
  • Muslim Community Network
  • New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE)
  • Project New Yorker

In early August, MOIA invited community-based organizations to submit a request for proposal on how they would conduct "Immigrant Rights Workshops" in immigrant communities. While all immigrant-serving community organizations were invited to apply, MOIA was especially focused on workshops being conducted in "hard-to-reach" communities to enhance the engagement between these populations and government services.

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"We are grateful to MOIA for the opportunity to join the FY23 Partners to provide the Immigrant Rights Workshops to members of our communities. Due to the cultural and language barriers, many of the Africans in NY do not understand their rights, immigration policies or even know where to go for resources and support, regardless of their immigration status. This collaboration enables us to bring the information, resources, and services to our communities in their trusted spaces," said Toyin Omolola, CEO, DSI International Inc.

"Center for Family Life in Sunset Park is honored to participate in this vitally important project. Immigrant Workers' Rights workshops serve to inform and protect our community members and support their efforts to build economic power. We are so grateful for this opportunity to promote awareness of workers' rights, which are fundamentally human rights," said Julia Jean-Francois, Co-Executive Director, Center for Family Life in Sunset Park.

"Mixteca is a trusted center for information and immigrants to receive various services and can join advocacy groups. This grant will support us in amplifying our outreach, sharing critical information and resources with immigrant families in places where they live, work, worship, attend school, shop, and recreate. We are deeply grateful to the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs for supporting our efforts," said Lorena Kourousias, Executive Director, Mixteca.

"Thank you to Mayor Eric Adams and the Mayor's Office for Immigrant Affairs for your continued commitment to empowering and welcoming our immigrant neighbors in NYC. The Immigrant Rights Workshops project demonstrates the true NYC value of supporting the most vulnerable members of our community," said Charles Brown, LSSNY.

"Muslim Community Network is truly grateful for this grant from MOIA to implement Immigrant Rights Workshops in our communities. As we move forward through this pandemic period, the dynamics of our communities have changed in terms of new regulations, laws, and enforcement mechanisms, as well as what resources are available to communities. We're looking forward to equipping the incredibly diverse communities that encompass the Muslim community with the resources necessary to help advocate for themselves," said Aniqa Nawabi, Executive Director at Muslim Community Network.

"Amid the landscape of heightened discrimination, hate crimes, and fear, community-driven initiatives that prioritize knowledge, partnership, and empowerment are key to strengthening immigrant communities. The Arab-American Family Support Center extends our gratitude to the NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs for their continued support and commitment to the safety of ALL New Yorkers. Together, we look forward to reaching immigrants across the City to advance immigrant justice through culturally responsive and linguistically accessible Immigrant Rights Workshops," said Rawaa Nancy Albilal, President & CEO of the Arab-American Family Support Center.

"La Colmena is grateful to have been selected by the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) to conduct Immigrant Rights Workshops to the Staten Island immigrant community. With their support, we will be able to continue providing the immigrant community with the knowledge, services, and resources they need in order to thrive in NYC," said Arlette Cepeda, Deputy Director of La Colmena.

"Riis Settlement is proud to continue its partnership with MOIA to provide Immigrant Rights Workshops to community members across western Queens. These workshops are a vital component of our Immigrant Services program and play an important role in helping our immigrant community members access accurate and up-to-date information about their rights and immigration policies. These workshops will be especially important for recently arrived immigrants in our communities to educate them on the resources available to them in NYC. We are very grateful to MOIA for funding this important work," said Christopher Hanway, Executive Director, Riis Settlement.

"Immigrant workers have a big presence here, and they deserve to have rights just like anyone else. It's so important for us to know our rights so that our wages are not stolen and so that we don't suffer workplace discrimination. We look forward to partnering with MOIA to continue informing NICE's membership of immigrant workers about their rights and making sure they have the tools to be confident in the workplace and in the rest of their lives," said Yaneth Zambrano and Miriam Cumbicus, NICE Member Leaders.

"UNITED SIKHS is thankful to MOIA for providing funding to increase our reach to educate immigrant communities about their legal rights and essential resources available to them. We are confident that we will have a positive impact in creating safe and supportive communities," said Jagjit Kaur, Senior Manager at UNITED SIKHS.

"Laal believes in a New York City where all people are welcomed. We are thrilled to partner with the NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs to expand our program to offer immigration rights workshops to our womxn. Through these workshops, we will provide resources and information our community members need to be able to navigate the complex immigration system. We would like to thank the NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs for supporting us in this vital project and look forward to our partnership," said Nuha Farriha, Development Coordinator at Laal NYC.

"Life of Hope is delighted to partner with MOIA to take part in helping to uphold dignity and equity with the immigrant communities in a time of crisis, noting that this initiative will open doors to a safe and productive future. Immigrants continue to face an uncertain future, and as the ultimate city of immigrants, it is our priority to partner with MOIA to deliver resources that will uplift our most vulnerable communities. We are proud to join with our partner to host immigrant rights workshops to inform and support our community," said Porez Luxama, Executive Director at Life of Hope.

"It's important to educate our community members about their rights and resources available, regardless of their immigration status. We thank MOIA for this partnership," said Afsana Monir, Executive Director at Project New Yorker.

"Know Your Rights trainings are essential to immigrant communities staying safe in our City. These publicly funded workshops have made life-changing differences, and I'm thrilled the Mayor's office is doubling down on this investment," said Immigration Committee Chair Shahana Hanif. "With more funding and new organizations brought into this work, thousands of new immigrant New Yorkers will be armed with the knowledge to protect themselves. I'm proud to support this effort to ensure immigrant New Yorkers thrive."

"Immigrants are the lifeblood of New York. Today's announcement from the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs of the city funded organizations who will provide immigrant rights workshops is extremely exciting, and I wish to especially congratulate Haitian Americans United for Progress!", said Council Member Rita Joseph.

"There are unique challenges that affect our city's capabilities of providing culturally competent essential services to New York's wide array of immigrant communities. Thanks to the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs and the leadership of Commissioner Manuel Castro, this administration continues to prove its commitment to serving the needs of every resident that calls New York City home", said Council Member Linda Lee, Vice co-Chair of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus. "With more than 200 languages spoken across the five boroughs, the Immigrants' Rights Workshops will serve as integral programs to help bring awareness to all of the services our city can provide. Thank you to Mayor Adams and Commissioner Castro for your advocacy, and to all of our community-based organizations who we continue to call upon time after time to help bridge our immigrant communities to essential government services."

"As our immigrant population rises with thousands of asylum seekers joining our city, it is encouraging that this Administration and the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs are working proactively to create a plan for welcoming, supporting, and aiding immigrant New Yorkers across the five boroughs, especially in communities traditionally lacking such valuable resources," said Council Member Kamillah Hanks.

"New York is a city of immigrants and we're going to make sure they have the support they need to navigate their rights and city resources," said Council Member Shaun Abreu. "A diverse selection of high-quality community-based organizations will supercharge these workshops to make sure our city meets the needs of all of our immigrant communities."

"Exercising your rights effectively begins with knowing about them. That's why this $400,000 investment in immigrant rights workshops will be so meaningful to our immigrant communities. Congratulations to all those organizations partnering to present these workshops, with a special note of appreciation to Haitian Americans United for Progress; collectively, your work will uplift immigrant communities and all New Yorkers," said NYS Senator Leroy Comrie. "I commend Mayor Adams for this renewed commitment to your success."

"New York has been strengthened by immigration. Recently we have seen Mayor Eric Adams' administration subjected to a historically unprecedented situation with the arrival of thousands of immigrants seeking asylum. Yet, the New York City government has stepped up to the challenge and demonstrated its humane character. Community-based organizations have and will play a critical role in ensuring human rights and access to important resources, especially for underserved communities," said Senator Luis Sepúlveda. "Commissioner Manuel Castro's announcement of the allocation of funds to organizations that advocate for and provide guidance and services to immigrants is just one more sign of the decision to do things right and to be effective in the humane and decent treatment of our brothers and sisters. I welcome this initiative and encourage organizations to be part of this process".
"New York has always been a city of immigrants. As our immigrant communities continue to grow, it is critical that immigrant New Yorkers understand their rights and protections under the law and have access to all of the information they need to navigate the complexities of the immigration system and access vital services. This funding will ensure community organizations working on the ground can meet individuals where they are with the resources they need to live with dignity and respect, regardless of immigration status," said State Senator Jamaal T. Bailey.

"I am honored to work in concert with Mayor Adams in not only welcoming Asylum Seekers to Harlem but also ensuring that they integrate well, are treated humanely and with dignity, and given every opportunity to thrive and grow. Harlem is the ultimate home of the Diaspora and has long been an inspiring enclave for the oppressed and mistreated," said Senator Cordell Cleare. "In support of the IRW initiative, I urge everyone to join us at our Asylum Seekers Public Forum on November 4th at 3:00 PM, at the Masjid Malcolm Shabazz, 102 West 116th Street, New York, NY 10026. I have a diversity of asylum seekers in my district who are in need of these workshops. This initiative is a good start. But we need to expand it to organizations in places like Harlem, that are experiencing a large influx of seekers, in particularly from the African diaspora.

"I applaud the actions Mayor Adams and his staff are taking to address the influx of immigrants and asylum seekers to our great city. By providing immigrant rights workshops to hard-to-reach immigrant populations, opportunities are enhanced for them to seek the services and training they need to access affordable housing and become employed members of our city's workforce," said Assembly Member Inez E. Dickens. 

"Hamilton the musical has a great line that says, "Immigrants, we get the job done". I wouldn't be an American citizen if my mom didn't immigrate here from her home country, Belize. I applaud the city of New York for their investment into the organizations that support the immigrant community. I know these investments will produce proud and productive New Yorkers," said Assemblymember Chantel Jackson.

"I want to thank Mayor Adams and the countless immigrant advocacy organizations for demonstrating what a true Sanctuary City looks like. As we push against this latest most vicious round of anti-immigrant actions and sentiment it is important that we do our part to educate immigrants about their rights as residents and contributors to our City so that they are properly integrated," said Assemblywoman Monique Chandler-Waterman. "In spite of those who would have us believe otherwise, who themselves are immigrants or descended from immigrants, our country was built by people from other countries."