In May, Yenny Quispe spoke to 2,000 leaders at the New York Women’s Foundation’s Celebrating Women Breakfast: “MRNY has helped me to become an optimistic person and an outspoken person. With my green card, I’ll be able to get financial help for school so that I can finish my degree in social work and one day open my own clinic.”
Tomorrow, we celebrate the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program, which allows eligible young immigrants to receive work permits and immigration relief.
Since President Obama announced the program last June, Make the Road New York has educated 2,600 potential applicants and their families and provided 67 full-service DACA clinics in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island where close to 1,000 youth received one-on-one screening and legal services for this life changing program.
The key to our success is youth leadership. Over the past 12 months, young people at MRNY have coordinated outreach and education, marshaling and training a team of 100+ educators, application facilitators, and volunteer lawyers. You can see this work firsthand in our film, “We Call Ourselves Dreamers.”
But MRNY helps with more than DACA. Our staff, including attorneys, teachers, and job counselors, use all of our services and programs to help families find economic stability and more permanent forms of immigration relief. In addition to DACA, MRNY provided civics and citizenship preparation classes to 240 people and helped 289 apply for citizenship. We assisted over 100 others who were facing deportation or were victims of domestic violence with applications for immigration relief.
In addition, MRNY helped 62 young people like Yenny Quispe (pictured above) apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, which provides green cards to people under 21 who have been abused or neglected by a parent.
Yenny immigrated to the United States from her native Peru, where she had faced homophobia and abuse at the hands of her father. At MRNY, she found safety and community among other immigrant and LGBTQ youth.
When DACA was announced, Yenny helped hundreds of others apply. When she was screened for DACA herself, Yenny’s MRNY attorney discovered she was a candidate for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and rapidly completed the complex application just before Yenny’s 21st birthday. Now, she has her green card and the opportunity that comes with it. Because she was such an impressive volunteer DACA facilitator, MRNY hired Yenny to be the permanent DACA Coordinator. (If you or someone you know may be eligible for DACA, you can contact Yenny at firstname.lastname@example.org or718-565-8500 ext. 4456)
Youth and families don’t just take advantage of MRNY’s services. They work to give back to their communities. We are incredibly proud of our member leaders and look forward to working together to expand our services in preparation for immigration reform.
Thank you to the New York Community Trust, the Fund for New Citizens, the Robin Hood Foundation, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assembly Member Francisco Moya, the New York State Office for New Americans, and the dozens of individual donors and volunteers for making this work possible.