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Coalition Speaks- Summer 2015- Regional Advocacy Full Page



Listening to the Issues that Matter for Upstate New York Immigrants

The NYIC conducted a series of regional “Immigrant Issues Convenings” in upstate metropolitan areas over the summer of 2015 as part of the new Regional Advocacy Program, which seeks to bolster support for the needs of New York’s immigrants outside the New York metropolitan area.

The Immigrant Issues Convenings were a continuation of meetings held the Fall and Spring, at which regions identified key issue areas affecting immigrants and immigrant organizations. At the summer meetings, each group finalized a local set of policy recommendations to inform the NYIC’s state agenda, which will be presented at the NYIC Staff/Board Retreat in September.

Rochester: We held our first summer Immigrant Issues Convening with the Worker Justice Center of New York and the Greater Rochester Coalition for Immigration Justice on July 22nd in Rochester, NY. The event was a great success with over 30 participants in attendance. Together, we finalized the Rochester regional agenda: immigrant access to drivers’ licenses, language access, and the need for low-cost legal services for undocumented immigrants.

PHOTO: Rochester Immigrant Issues convening 

Buffalo: On July 25th, the NYIC held its Buffalo Immigrant Issues Convening with co-hosts the International Institute of Buffalo. Topics included concerns about law enforcement and collaboration with immigration officials, the shortage of legal services funding, and the need for a comprehensive workforce development agenda for the region. The meeting drew over 30 participants, including Jessica Lazarín, the newly appointed Director of Buffalo’s new Office for New Americans.

PHOTO: Buffalo Immigrant Issues convening 

Buffalo’s recent creation of a local Office of New Americans signals an important step towards addressing the needs of immigrants in the Buffalo region. The NYIC is working to encourage other municipalities and counties across the state to follow Buffalo’s lead and create their own Offices of New Americans. 

Syracuse: Finally, on August 18th, the NYIC held its final convening of the summer in Syracuse at the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County. With 15 attendees, the participants held a robust discussion about the needs of immigrants in Syracuse and Central New York and developed a regional agenda with a focus on language access and farmworkers’ rights.

PHOTO: Buffalo Immigrant Issues convening 

The NYIC also organized a Syracuse Regional Convening in partnership with the Spanish Action League of Onondaga County on Friday, May 1st, with participants in attendance from Utica and Syracuse. Language access was identified as the top priority for participants in this convening.



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