During the past year, we have seen many new arrivals from the Southern border being bussed into New York City and more recently, the Hudson Valley. Many of these immigrants are individuals and families who are fleeing violence and persecution, not unlike the immigrants of the 19th and 20th centuries. Seeking asylum in the United States is their legal right and many people are now waiting for their cases to be processed in immigration court.
Neighbors Link has been coordinating closely with a variety of government agencies and community partners to support new arrivals. We are providing immigration legal services, English Language classes with childcare so parents can attend the classes and Family Fun Days so families can take a moment and decompress from the stresses of this transition.
In addition, our legal team is providing legal consultations to new arrivals at shelters throughout the Hudson Valley. They have assisted individuals and families with filing applications for asylum and temporary protected status, helping people get one step closer to getting work authorization and being able to start building a self-sufficient life.
Finally, Neighbors Link is one of only five nonprofits in the state selected to assist immigrant families living in New York City shelters who would like to move to other parts of the state. Through this program, Neighbors Link identifies safe and affordable housing, supports families through their move, and provides case management services for one year.
This increase in new arrivals could be an important economic boon to New York State. New York is experiencing labor shortages in several key industries and immigration could be key in recovering the labor force and tax base. Unfortunately, asylum seekers are currently required to wait at least 150 days after filing
an asylum claim before they can apply for work authorization. Neighbors Link has joined with local and national officials in advocating for expedited work permits for asylum seekers.
For centuries, people have immigrated to New York to build new lives for their families and to integrate into the vibrant communities we have around the state. We have the opportunity now to build welcoming communities where new arrivals can integrate quickly and contribute economically, socially and culturally to their new homes.
If you are interested in supporting this work, please email Katie Graves-Abe at email@example.com.