Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, whose family hails from Jamaica, has welcomed a plan by New York City to aid undocumented Caribbean immigrants.
New York City officials say the city will spend US$18 million to help undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants find jobs. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a mayoral candidate, said the money will fund adult education classes and legal services that the US federal government requires immigrants to take to qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project will provide free legal services to immigrants threatened with deportation who are unable to represent themselves in proceedings.
“New York has always been a city of immigrants within a nation of immigrants,” said Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn. “Under this program, thousands of immigrants in Brooklyn and other parts of the City will finally have an opportunity to challenge the deportation proceedings that separate families and weaken communities,” she added.
The program permits immigrants to live and work in the US, regardless of the outcome of an immigration reform bill currently in the House of Representatives, provided they are between 15 and 31 years old as of June 15, 2012.
Nearly 80,000 immigrants living in New York are eligible for the deferred action, but about 16,000 need to enroll in an adult education program to qualify.
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