April 19, 2016

Mayor de Blasio, Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Agarwal Announce 13th Annual Immigrant Heritage Week Celebration

2016 Celebrations Mark the Launch of NYCitizenship Services


NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs recently announced the start of Immigrant Heritage Week 2016. The citywide celebration, which includes events across the five boroughs from April 17-23, features a rich collection of programs. The theme for 2016, “From Many, Making NYC One,” reflects the many ways in which New York City immigrant communities contribute to the vitality of our city, including civic and economic participation, cultural contributions and an ongoing commitment to civil rights and justice.
“New York City is an amalgamation of cultures and nationalities, and we strive to be inclusive of each and every one of them. What better way to advance this goal than to celebrate inclusivity with the beginning of Immigrant Heritage Week, during which we will be kicking off NYCitzenship to help immigrant New Yorkers take the final leap into becoming citizens. It is an honor to partake in such meaningful celebration,” said Mayor de Blasio.
“During this Immigrant Heritage Week, the de Blasio administration will expand our ongoing work to ensure that all immigrant New Yorkers have access to justice and city services,” said Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “Through the launch of NYCitizenship, immigrant New Yorkers will have the support they need as they pursue a pathway to citizenship. Further, Immigrant Heritage Week’s dialogue and events will demonstrate New York City’s commitment to include all New Yorkers in the fabric of our City, regardless of their status.”

“During Immigrant Heritage Week, we acknowledge and celebrate the cultural richness that New York City’s immigrant communities bring to our everyday lives,” said Commission on Human Rights Commissioner and Chair Carmelyn P. Malalis‎. “As the daughter of immigrants from the Philippines, I have a strong appreciation for the sacrifices made and courage involved in moving to this country from other lands. I also share in the pride of immigrants and their communities as their many contributions are felt and enjoyed by all New Yorkers. At the Commission, we are dedicated to protecting every New Yorker from discrimination, including our immigrant brothers and sisters, so that everyone can benefit from the diversity that makes this city the greatest city in the world.”

"Our city was built by immigrants, and immigrants remain our city's heart and soul," said Public Advocate Letitia James. "This week, we take extra time to recognize and celebrate our immigrant communities. As individuals running for our nation's highest office spew xenophobic rhetoric, I remind immigrants that in New York, we will never stop working to provide fair and equal opportunities for all."
During Immigrant Heritage Week 2016, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs will formally launch NYCitizenship services. Approximately 650,000 immigrant New Yorkers are one step away from citizenship. NYCitizenship will provide free citizenship services and financial counseling at 12 public library branches alongside services available at the New York City Human Resources Administration sites. NYCitizenship was first announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio during the City’s first-ever Citizenship Week of Action. To make an appointment, New York City residents simply have to call 311 and say “citizenship appointment.”
NYCitizenship is a collaborative effort by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, Queens Library, New York City Human Resources Administration, New York Legal Assistance Group, and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, with support from Citi Community Development, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Robin Hood Foundation.
“By offering naturalization services, legal assistance and financial education all in one familiar place, NYCitizenship is paving the way to countless new opportunities for our immigrant communities – from better pay to homeownership. It’s exactly what our city needs as we continue to fight against income inequality and fight for vulnerable New Yorkers,” said Darren Bloch, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “We’re grateful to our longtime partners – Citi Community Development, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Robin Hood Foundation – for supporting the expansion of this vital program to libraries citywide.”
“We at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services know that libraries are a second home to immigrants – more than 55 percent of recent immigrants use the public library at least once a week. For years, libraries nationwide have been great allies for USCIS in helping to get important immigration information to those who need it. Last year, we were proud to partner with New York libraries to establish ‘New Americans Corners’ in every library branch in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens,” said Phyllis Coven, New York District Director for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. “Today’s announcement builds off that great partnership, and we congratulate the New York Library systems and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs for establishing such a valuable service to New York’s immigrants.”
Immigrant Heritage Week was established in 2004 and is a citywide celebration that honors the experiences and contributions of immigrants in New York City. Every year, New York City celebrates Immigrant Heritage Week from April 17–23. April 17 marks the day in 1907 when more immigrants entered through Ellis Island than any other date in the City's history.
To commemorate Immigrant Heritage Week, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs will host a variety of events on issues related to immigration policy and immigrant rights. For a full calendar of community events, visit nyc.gov/ihw2016.

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