April 27, 2009

Senator Gillibrand Helps Kickoff Week Long Citizenship Now! Immigration Hotline, Thanks Staff and Volunteers for Their Tireless Efforts

Free Hotline Co-sponsored By New York Daily News And CUNY Provides Information On Immigration Law And Policy

New York, NY - U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand helped kickoff the sixth annual Citizenship Now! hotline today by visiting the call center to thank staff and volunteers for providing immigrants throughout New York City with free access to reliable counseling on immigration law and policy.  Launched by the New York Daily News and the City University of New York (CUNY) to fill a critical need within the immigrant community, the Citizenship Now! hotline is staffed by volunteers from the CUNY Immigration Centers, twenty CUNY campuses, the CUNY School of Law, the Legal Aid Society, the New York Immigration Coalition, plus other community based organizations and elected official's offices. The program was launched in 2004, and since that time has helped 55,000 individuals obtain the information they need to legally navigate the immigration and naturalization process.
 
"America was built by the contributions of immigrants and our diversity only adds to the greatness of this country," said Senator Gillibrand. "I thank the Daily News, CUNY and all of the volunteers at Citizenship Now! for being there to assist our City's immigrants with navigating the complex road to citizenship. Right-sizing America's immigration system is one of the most pressing challenges facing our country, and I am  committed to working with the Obama Administration to pursue comprehensive to reform that treats immigrants fairly and gives them a path to earned citizenship."

According to the Daily News, the week-long hotline will operate from Monday, April 27 to Friday, May 1, between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., with nearly 400 knowledgeable experts available by telephone. Calls will be answered in English and Spanish, with nearly 20 additional languages also available throughout the week. The Citizenship Now! hotline will have immigration experts who are available for interviews in Spanish, Mandarin or Cantonese, Korean, Italian, Haitian Creole and Russian.
 
Earlier this month, Senator Gillibrand took action to cosponsor the DREAM Act. This legislation would make college more affordable for immigrant students and their families by repealing outdated regulations that effectively deny in-state tuition and other higher education benefits to immigrant students.