By Carlotta Mohamed
The New York Lawyers for the Public Interest in partnership with Catholic Migration Services reopened their immigration hotline this month to help eligible immigrants receive assistance with their naturalization applications, said Annamaria Santamaria, program associate of Pro Bono Programs at NYLPI.
Interested individuals can call the hotline at (212) 225-4400 until July 20 to be screened by a volunteer and attend a naturalization clinic where they can receive free legal help July 28 at LaGuardia Community College — located at 31-10 Thomson Ave. in Long Island City.
“Typically most of our clients are Brooklyn-based,” said Chloe Moore, coordinator at Catholic Migration Services. “We’re able to help people from all over New York City, but we would like to better serve our Queens population providing assistance at the naturalization clinic at LaGuardia College.”
In partnership with Catholic Migration Services — a not-for-profit that assists immigrants with immigration legal services, housing legal services, and immigrant workers’ rights legal services — and multiple participating law firms, NYLPI has served close to 600 clients over the past three years, according to Santamaria.
NYLPI is a not-for-profit civil rights law firm specializing in the areas of disability rights, access to healthcare and environmental justice. It matches community organizations and non-profits with pro-bono attorneys from law firms and corporate legal departments across New York City, according to its website.
NYLPI and CMS host four naturalization workshops a year. The first workshop this year was held in April, Santamaria said.
“We plan to host a few more workshops before the year is over,” said Santamaria. “And we want to encourage as many folks as possible to come out for the upcoming workshop.”
According to Moore, the most basic requirements include: permanent lawful residents must be at least 18 years old with a green card for at least five years, and living in the state or district where they are applying for at least three months.
At the clinic in July, an attorney will meet with the clients one-on-one and assist them with the application, which will be sent to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, according to Santamaria. The attorneys can also help clients fill out fee waiver forms and give resources to study for the naturalization test.
Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmoha