Important Legal Notices to Immigrants in the U.S.:|
- Recently passed legislation (PATRIOT Act in House of Representatives and USA Act in Senate), as well as the controversial presidential decision about setting up special military tribunals, may have strong and adverse impact on all immigrants, not only those related and/or responsible for the September 11 tragedy. Various new aspects in treatment of immigrants in the U.S. in consequence of those recent changes are of utmost interest to Raccoon's, prevailingly immigrant, constituency. Coalition for the Human Rights of Immigrants produced a resource sheet for immigrants in NYC area, which we translated to Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian and made the copies available to people who visit us at our space.
- In 2002 Raccoon tried to help a Croatian in deportation proceedings detained at Passaic County Jail, arrested falsely under the Patriot Act (FBI dropped the charges, but INS found his papers not in order, and he was deported on January 7, 2003).
- On November 21, 2002, New York Civil Liberties Union sent an Open Letter to the Muslim Community about how to cooperate with the FBI without sacrificing their constitutional rights. This is an important advice, because one of the crucial questions the FBI asks under the Patriot Act is: "Are you a Muslim?". Raccoon translated this document as well in bosnian/serbian/croatian and in albanian to make it accessible to our Muslim constituency. We suggest you carry a print-out of this letter on you.
- On December 22, 2003, NYC mayor Bloomberg signed language access legislation, Introductory Number 38-A: "Intro. 38-A seeks to increase the access
of individuals who have limited English-speaking abilities to these critical services. The bill's provisions require the Human Resources Administration (HRA), Administration for Children's Services (ACS), Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to inform individuals of available language
services. HRA will also provide oral and written translation services, including translating certain documents into six languages (like it used to be done in former Yugoslav autonomous province of Vojvodina) -- Arabic, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian and Spanish. The legislation, while imposing some additional responsibilities on the City agencies, allows for a level of flexibility in how the provisions are carried out in that either agency staff or contracted service providers, such as community-based organizations, may be utilized to assist the agencies in providing language assistance services. Furthermore, it allows for individuals seeking services from
the agencies to use volunteers, such as family or friends, to assist in providing language assistance services."
- On April 16, 2003, ACLU sent out a memorandum to immigration and humanitarian organizations outlining how the Section 215 of the Patriot Act works. It is ACLU's view that Section 215 is unconstitutional. Section 215 allows FBI to demand the production of "any tangible things" about your clients or about a class of your clients from you or any other business, organization or person. Under Section 215 FBI needs only to certify that their investigation is related to foreign intelligence, clandestine intelligence, or international terrorism. Anybody served with a Section 215 order is prohibitted from disclosing to any person that the FBI demanded information. ACLU encourages you to consult legal counsel as soon as possible if FBI demands any information from you. For further advice call ACLU at 1-888-874-7557.
New York Immigrant Facts:
- According to the The Newest New Yorkers, 2000 census, nearly one-half of all New Yorkers speak a language other than English
- Immigrants pay $18.2 billion in taxes in New York State, or 15.5% of the state's tax income. (Urban Institute)
- In New York City two thirds of the population are either immigrants or
their children. 60% of NY residents are foreign born.
- New York City police officers were born in 55 countries.
- New York City is now home to 1,361,007 immigrants of voting age who are not yet citizens. That means one 1of 5 New Yorkers of voting age can't vote.
- 25% of families are mixed-status where at least 1 child is a citizen and
1 parent a non-citizen.
- Borough of Queens is the most ethnically diverse locality in the United States
- Over 1 million people have been deported since the 1996 immigration
- Pending legislation would allow immigration authorities to deport
immigrants without a hearing.
- After the Sept. 11 disaster, New York city finds 18% of its residents living in poverty.