Legal Clinic, Immigration Rights & OSHA Training
Sunday, September 23 - Elmhurst Baptist Church, 87-37 Whitney Ave. Elmhurst, NY 11373
Monday, September 24 - Damayan Office, 406 W 40 St, 3rd Floor, New York, NY
Know Your Rights and OSHA Presentations: 12:30pm - 2:30pm
Legal Clinic: 3:00pm to 4pm
The latest immigration guidelines for the Notice to Appear (N.T.A) and the Public Charge are part of the current administration’s strategies to criminalize, detain and deport more immigrants. The new Public Charge policy will expand the criteria of public services that can classify an immigrant as inadmissible or ineligible to become a lawful permanent resident. The new Notice to Appear policy grants the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency the ability to initiate deportation proceedings when they deny a change of status application without the approval of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (I.C.E), which will expedite deportations against all immigrants.
In partnership with the Urban Justice Center and the leaders of the Elmhurst Baptist Church, Damayan organized an immigration Know Your Rights event at the church to inform the Elmhurst community about these recent policy changes. Following a powerful service led by Pastor Tim Panjola, we shared a potluck meal then began the series of presentations. First, Damayan organizer Edith Mendoza led an OSHA training, covering the history, objectives, workplace laws and worker guidelines of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Next, attorneys from the Community Defense Project presented on the guidelines for the Notice to Appear and the Public Charge. That was followed by a Question & Answer session with the crowd. Many participants were concerned about how they might be affected or possibly endangered by the policies. Some did not even wish to stand and personally ask their questions but instead asked Damayan organizers to ask on their behalf. Understandably, the local immigrant community is afraid that if their applications are denied or they no longer have legal statuses, they will be issued an N.T.A.
Following the Q & A, Damayan organizer Gabriela Silva spoke about the need for community organizing and introduced Damayan’s latest campaign Magtanggol: Defend Ourselves, Defend Our Community. Created in response to the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and detention and deportation strategies, Magtanggol is an effort to protect local immigrant communities through political education and organizing by establishing individual and community preparedness and rapid response to any threats against immigrants such as deportations, detentions, workplace raids, and racist anti-immigrant policies. After all the presentations, participants were offered free private legal consultations with the CDP lawyers on-site.
Damayan is grateful for the warm reception and positive engagement of the Elmhurst Baptist Church community, who we considered an important ally in our struggle against racism and xenophobia.