Commemorating Immigrant Heritage Week, Cities Take Action To Prepare For Implementation Of President’s Executive Actions On Immigration

Actions Include Citizenship Workshops, Roundtable Events, Voter Registration Drives, Info Sessions & ESL Classes

Events Taking Place Beginning Tomorrow In NYC, Los Angeles, Houston, San Francisco & Boston

NEW YORK – As an appeals court is set to hear oral arguments today in the lawsuit temporarily delaying President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, cities across the nation kicked off Immigrant Heritage Week (IHW) by hosting events in advance of the new reforms. Immigrant Heritage Week is a celebration from April 17-24, honoring the experiences and contributions of the millions of immigrants who have shaped cities for generations.

In recent months, mayors have joined forces with over 70 cities and counties as part of Cities United for Immigration Action, a coalition that is leading the effort to promote and execute the President’s reforms nationwide.

“This week is a celebration of the indelible contributions new Americans have made in our city and our nation. As the court hears arguments in the lawsuit over President Obama’s immigration actions, New York and cities across the nation are forging ahead to ensure swift and effective implementation of these much-needed reforms. Let’s use this moment as an opportunity to honor our immigrant heritage and lay the groundwork for a stronger economic future,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“Cities are on the front lines when it comes to the consequences of leaving hardworking, taxpaying people in the shadows. We must put the politics aside and focus on the human and economic costs incurred by delay in the President's action,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Immigrant Heritage Week begins on April 17, the day in history when the most immigrants crossed Ellis Island. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Hart-Cellar Act, which eliminated race-based quotas in the country’s immigration laws and is widely viewed as a major victory for civil rights, while significantly contributing to the vibrant diversity of the United States today.

This week, during Mayor Garcetti's State of the City address, he announced that $4 million has been raised in support of the city's StepForwardLA campaign to assist 100,000 Angelenos with Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Mayors highlighted their city’s work in preparation of the implementation of the President’s executive actions on immigration. Actions hosted by cities taking place nationwide include:

New York City: The City is hosting a roundtable event with Mayor de Blasio and dozens of immigration advocates to discuss the President's Executive Action on Immigration, strategies around implementation, and detailing a plan for longer-term actions on comprehensive immigration reform. (April 18)

Los Angeles: The city is hosting a series of events to help immigrants and advance the president’s executive actions on immigration, including: citizenship workshops, voter registration drives, information sessions on DAPA and DACA eligibility & English As A Second Language (ESL) classes. (April 18)

Houston: Department of Neighborhoods Office of International Communities will host a free citizenship forum in partnership with 10 local organizations tomorrow at 10AM. The forum will inform participants about the requirements and process to become a citizen and offer assistance with the completion of the citizenship application and fee waivers for those eligible. (April 18)

San Francisco: A Pathways to Citizenship group processing workshop hosted by the San Francisco Office of Civic Engagement & Immigrant Affairs in partnership with seven community-based organizations and six local foundations will provide citizenship application assistance, legal services, language services, and promote civic participation. (April 18)

Boston: An information session in Spanish, English and Portuguese for more than 100 immigrants enrolled in an adult education program to detail the eligibility requirements and benefits of the President’s Executive Action and highlight the Office of New Bostonians' free legal screening clinic which is being organized in collaboration with legal and community partners for May 30, 2015. A priority for Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Office of New Bostonians has also set up an information phone line to answer questions about DACA/DAPA and designed a public service announcement encouraging eligible individuals to prepare to apply and warning about scams, which was released this week. In addition to these activities we will continue to host one-on-one confidential consultations with private volunteer lawyers on immigration law and eligibility screenings.

A federal appeals court today will hold oral argument on the question of whether to lift a judge's order temporarily blocking President Obama from carrying out new immigration executive actions. Earlier this month, as part of Cities United For Immigration Action, 73 cities and counties filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging immediate implementation of the new actions.

For more information on the actions cities are taking, contact CUIA at: [email protected]