Legal Hand event provides a helping hand to immigrants

By Naeisha Rose

The second annual Sanctuary for All event, an occasion meant to empower and protect immigrants with social and legal services, was held last week at Legal Hand Jamaica, 149-13 Jamaica Ave.

Legal Hand Jamaica, a nonprofit, assists in civil legal problems for people from low-income communities.

At the event, more than 50 members of nearly 20 groups were there to help provide information, resources and expertise on issues facing immigrants, documented or undocumented.

One of the groups providing legal services for immigrants in an array of areas was the Legal Aid Society.

“We have an army of immigration lawyers, and at Legal Aid, immigration status is not a bar to our services,” said Sateesh Nori, who works on civil cases. “We are not going to ask if you have a green card or what your status is.”

The Legal Aid Society has public defenders, represents juveniles and covers 23 areas of civil practice, including tenants’ rights, foreclosures, benefits, disability, employment and domestic violence.

The Legal Aid Society has a team of about 70 lawyers in its civil practice division in Queens and can be found in Jamaica at 153-01 Jamaica Ave. or in Kew Gardens at 120-46 Queens Blvd.

Virginia Goggin, the director of legal services at the New York City Anti-Violence Project, was at Legal Hand to speak on her work to help people, including immigrants regardless of status, who are in domestic violence situations, especially in the LGBT community.

“We have different support groups for LGBTQ survivors of sexual violence,” Goggin said. “We also have an economic empowerment program … and we offer immigration assistance.”

Not only does AVP help survivors with securing work, it also helps people who need an order of protection or a name change or have housing concerns, according to the director.

Survivors who are uncomfortable about reporting an event because of their sexuality and status can come forward to AVP, or file an online report at avp.org., according to Goggin. AVP is also working on app.

Providing legal clinics for undocumented parents who want to ensure their children’s safety in case they are deported was CUNY Law School Professor Joe Rosenberg and his student Stephanie Deolarte.

“The main documents that we work with are temporary care and custody,” Rosenberg said. He also works with “parental designation and temporary guardian forms.”

In addition, Rosenberg works with power-of-attorney forms, and he warned people to be very careful whom they appoint, because someone could abuse the designation for money. But choosing the right person could provide legal security for a child.

“We think of it as a bridge to a more permanent arrangement, if that is necessary,” Rosenberg said.

For help from the CUNY Law School, individuals can go to https://cuny.is/planningwithparents.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by email at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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