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NEWS RELEASE                                                                                                                                                                                            Contact:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                      The Door: dhughes@universitysettlement.org
                                                                                                                                                                                          NYC MOIA: mediabox@moia.nyc.gov

  • Campaign in French, Spanish and English was created in partnership with the Center for Urban Pedagogy and designer Grace Han
  • The Door, in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, will be holding a press conference outside of 555 Broome Street on Thursday, July 15th at 11 AM to commemorate the launch of the campaign.

New York, NY – The Door’s Legal Services Center will launch a public information campaign aimed at educating young immigrants in New York City about Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) and connecting them to legal services providers, the groundbreaking youth development organization announced today.

Created in partnership with the Center for Urban Pedagogy’s Making Policy Public program and designer Grace Han, the campaign will be displayed on LinkNYC screens throughout the five boroughs thanks to support from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. To further the goal of increasing youth access to SIJS, the campaign also includes printed pamphlets and fold-out posters, as well as social media resources connecting youth to New York City-based legal services organizations, all available in French, Spanish and English.

SIJS is a form of humanitarian immigration relief for youth under 21 who have been abused, abandoned or neglected by a parent, and for whom returning to their country of origin is not in their best interest. SIJS is unique among forms of immigration relief because it combines state and federal law – an individual seeking SIJS must obtain an order from a state family court establishing their eligibility before applying for SIJS with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The family court process requires the participation of an adult custodian or guardian.

“The SIJS process can be confusing and intimidating to young immigrants, and there are many young people who have the right to this kind of relief but who are not able to access attorneys,” said Kaavya Viswanathan, Director, The Door’s Legal Services Center. “With this campaign, we hope to diversify the audience of young people who know about this protection and are able to find the legal representation necessary to access it. No child who has the right to this relief should go without it because they cannot find an attorney.”

“Access to information and access to representation are closely linked. When immigration courts were open, some judges provided young people with basic information about SIJS and free legal services, but the closure over the last year has meant that this information has mostly spread by word-of-mouth, which seriously limits its reach,” said Rachel Davidson, Managing Attorney for Policy and Special Projects, The Door’s Legal Services Center, who led the project. “The Door and our peer legal services providers in New York are working towards providing universal representation for unaccompanied minors. While we advocate for funding and legislation to provide those services, we hope to further access to information about SIJS and safe, free legal services by bringing it directly to the communities where youth live via LinkNYC.”

“We must provide immigrant youth in New York City with the information they need to make key decisions for their lives,” said Raquel Batista, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “That’s why we must have trusted, high quality resources made with them in mind. MOIA is proud to support The Door’s new campaign to increase awareness of the vital pathways to Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and improve youth access to legal services as we continue to work toward a more dignified immigration system.”

“Center for Urban Pedagogy’s Making Policy Public program does an extraordinary job of taking complex issues and making them accessible to the people who stand to benefit the most – all through the collaborative, creative approach that is CUP’s signature” said NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Deputy Commissioner Sheelah Feinberg. “We applaud this partnership between CUP, designer Grace Han, The Door, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and LinkNYC to bring this critical resource for young immigrants in New York City to as wide an audience as possible.”

“Access to quality legal services, including representation in the complex process to attain Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, can be life-changing, said Rich Leimsider, Executive Director, Safe Passage Project. “The vital information provided in this pamphlet will let young people know that legal help is available. That, in turn, will help them achieve stability and allow them to fully plan for their futures. Safe Passage Project is thrilled to be a partner to The Door, and to take part in rolling out this important resource for immigrant youth in New York.”

“We are delighted to partner with the Center for Urban Pedagogy and The Door in its work to ensure that immigrant youth have access to the information and advice they need to make the best decisions about their lives,” said Mario Russell, Director of Immigrant and Refugee Services, Catholic Charities Community Services. “SIJS is an important protection for youth who have overcome tremendous challenges and are now poised to make our communities stronger with their contributions. This pamphlet helps explain a complex legal process in an accessible, youth-friendly format. We look forward to sharing it with our clients.”

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About The Door 

The Door is an unparalleled model for youth development, offering a comprehensive range of integrated services within a single site for nearly 11,000 New York City youth annually. At The Door, youth can access health care and education, mental health counseling and crisis assistance, legal assistance, high school equivalency and college preparation services, career development, housing supports, arts, sports and recreational activities, and nutritious meals – all for free and under one roof.

The Door’s on-site charter high school, Broome Street Academy, has 330 students and prioritizes students who are homeless/transitionally housed or have been involved in the child welfare system. Learn more at www.door.org

About the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs

The NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) promotes the well-being of NYC’s immigrant communities by advocating for policies that increase justice, equity, and empowerment. MOIA leads, supports, and manages programs that help to successfully include immigrant New Yorkers into the civic, economic, and cultural life of the City. For more information on all MOIA services and the City’s many resources for immigrant New Yorkers, go to nyc.gov/immigrants; call the MOIA hotline at 212-788-7654 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday or send an email to AskMOIA@cityhall.nyc.gov; and follow us on TwitterInstagramFacebookLinkedIn, and Medium.