Daily News/CUNY Immigration Hotline
Citizenship NOW!, believed to be the largest program of its kind in the nation, was co-launched by the Daily News and CUNY in April 2004 to address the systemic lack of access to free immigration information for the people who need it most
As the Obama administration discusses steps forward for comprehensive immigration reform, many immigrants in the New York City area are faced with a pressing need to understand current immigration law and policy.
Beginning Monday, April 26, the New York Daily News and City University of New York (CUNY) are launching their eighth free annual Citizenship NOW! hotline to help immigrants navigate the complex path to citizenship.
Citizenship NOW!, believed to be the largest program of its kind in the nation, was co-launched by the Daily News and CUNY in April 2004 to address the systemic lack of access to free immigration information for the people who need it most. Since its
inception, the program has helped more than 70,000 people.
This year's week-long hotline will operate from Monday, April 26 to Friday, April 30, between 9am and 7pm, with nearly 400 trained counselors available by telephone over the course of the week. Calls will be answered in English and Spanish. We also
have counselors who speak: Mandarin, Cantonese, Russian, Korean, Italian, Haitian Creole, Bengali, Polish, French, Yiddish, and Arabic. The Citizenship NOW! hotline will have immigration counselors who speak Mandarin or Cantonese, Russian, Korean, Italian, Haitian Creole, Bengali, Polish, French, Yiddish, and Arabic for pre-event interviews.
Prior to the event, on April 8, the cast of the Tony Award winning Broadway musical, In The Heights, will perform for more than 400 volunteers at a day long training seminar at the CUNY Graduate Center, on 34th Street and 5th Avenue.
Participating volunteers come from the CUNY School of Law, the Legal Aid Society, the New York Immigration Coalition, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the CUNY Immigration Centers and the 20 CUNY campuses, and many other community based organizations and elected officials offices.
Citizenship NOW! is led by Daily News columnist Allan Wernick, an attorney and Chair of CUNY's Citizenship and Immigration project. Wernick is also a Professor of Law at Baruch College; he writes the weekly "Immigration Advice" column for the Daily
News, as well as the nationally syndicated column, "Immigration and Citizenship."
"Immigration is one of the most important issues facing this country and is a subject that affects the lives of many New Yorkers," said Martin Dunn, Editor-in-Chief and Deputy Publisher of the Daily News. "It's our mission with Citizenship NOW! to provide New Yorkers, their friends and family members who seek citizenship, with the most comprehensive information and assistance on the many complex immigration issues they face today."
Professor Wernick said, "Immigration has become one of the most important issues on the political scene. Each year some 100,000 permanent residents settle in the city, and approximately the same number qualify for naturalization annually. In addition, there are an estimated 11.5 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., with some 800,000 in the New York area. In the current economic environment, the need for immigration and citizenship application information and assistance is great and
growing, despite existing federal and state resources for these services."
"The Daily News and CUNY partnership is an outstanding public service that helps tens of thousands of families gain access to the American Dream," said CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. "We are proud to be the leading urban public university in the
country in offering free quality citizenship services to its students and the immigrant communities of our City and State."
On Monday, April 26, the call-in numbers for the Citizenship NOW! Immigration hotline will be available in the New York Daily News, at nydailynews.com, and at cuny.edu/citizenship. TTY/TTD is also available. Univision 41 and WADO 1280 AM Radio
will also provide extensive coverage as our Spanish media partners.
"Speaking Truth To Empower."