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Congressman Luis Gutiérrez Joins “Empower Immigrant New York” Event, Helping Eligible New Yorkers Become U.S Citizens


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Press Contact: Thanu Yakupitiyage,  Main Phone: 212-627-2227 x235,  E-mail: tyaku@nyic.org
New York  (Tuesday, April 12, 2016)

Congressman Luis Gutiérrez Joins “Empower Immigrant New York” Event, Helping Eligible New Yorkers Become U.S Citizens

(New York, NY) Congressman Luis Gutierrez today joined the City University of New York, the New York Daily News, the New York Immigration Coalition and partners in support of the “Empower Immigrant New York” citizenship initiative to assist eligible New Yorkers to apply and become citizens. Along with CUNY Chancellor James Milliken, New York Daily News President and CEO Bill Holiber, and the New York City Mayor’s Commissioner for Immigrant Affairs Nisha Agarwal, Congressman Gutierrez welcomed over 200 volunteers who will be answering phones during the annual CUNY/Daily News Citizenship Now! Call-In. Since 2004, the Call-In has provided over 143,000 callers access to free, confidential information on citizenship. 

Never before has it been this urgent to lift up the voices of all New Yorkers and ensure they have a say during this election cycle. This year's campaign has seen some of the most vitriolic rhetoric ever witnessed regarding immigrants, and in response New Yorkers are coming together to remind us all that we are a state built on the strength of our immigrant communities. The "Empower Immigrant New York" initiative seeks to build on this by naturalizing tens of thousands of New Americans, registering them to vote, and ensuring that their political voices will be heard.


Congressman Gutiérrez joined us as part of his nationwide tour to highlight the urgency of applying for citizenship now. He has visited similar events in multiple states already and recorded a Public Service Announcement urging immigrants to naturalize ahead of this year’s national election.

Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez said, “We have seen it in the past and we are seeing it again many times over this year: when immigrant communities feel they are under attack, they react with a large number of eligible immigrants becoming citizens and a large number of eligible citizens becoming voters. It is a predictable, emotional, and energetic response to protect their families and communities and it is also a refreshing shot in the aim for democracy across the country.”


“When New American New Yorkers become U.S Citizens and cast their votes, they are speaking not only for themselves, but for their families and the tens of thousands of immigrants who, despite their great economic contributions to our nation, cannot vote,” said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “With our immigration system taking front stage in this year’s Presidential campaign, it has never been more urgent and important for every eligible New Yorker to apply for citizenship so that they can make all of our communities’ voices heard in November.”

“I am pleased to join Congressman Gutiérrez, CUNY, the New York Daily News, and the New York Immigration Coalition in the launch of an event that marks the strength of immigrant communities and the significance of citizenship. New York City is home to 650,000 immigrants that may be eligible to naturalize and realize its incredible benefits to immigrants and the communities in which they live. Citizenship can lead to higher incomes, increased job opportunities and have a significant impact on local economies," said Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

“CUNY is pleased that Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a prominent and long-time champion in the fight for immigrants rights, is joining us to support this year's Citizenship Now call-in, the nation's largest effort to educate immigrants on how best to get on the path to U.S. Citizenship," said Jay Hershenson, Senior Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Secretary to the Board of Trustees of the City University of New York.

Jim Rich Editor in Chief, NY Daily News said “In a campaign season where hostility toward immigrants has never been higher, we expect more calls than ever. Green card holders want to get U.S. citizenship in time to vote, and we are here to help them.”

“We are pleased that Congressman Gutierrez will be joining us to inspire our volunteers.  Immigrants more than ever want to get solid with their status, and Citizenship Now! is there to help,” said Prof. Allan Wernick director of CUNY Citizenship Now!


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The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC)  is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees. The NYIC aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all by promoting immigrants’ full civic participation, fostering their leadership, and providing a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.


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