By Roy Mabasa
Amid the evolving shift in the United States immigration policy under the administration of President Donald J. Trump, the Philippine Consulate General in New York hosted a “Know Your Rights” seminar and free legal clinic on immigration for Filipino community leaders, volunteer lawyers, and other community and church-based migrant advocates.
Invited guest Jack Lally of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs made a presentation on the services that are available to all New York residents, including the undocumented immigrants.
New York City is one of the sanctuary cities or pro-immigrant rights cities in the United States.
Lally said the city’s programs included assistance for education, health care, immigration legal help, public safety, and the IDNYC or the free identification cards for New York City residents.
During the presentation held recently at the Consulate office, Lally categorically said: “The city will not ask about immigration status unless it is necessary to do its job”.
“Any information on immigration status is kept confidential,” he added.
Consul General Claro Cristobal signified the Consulate General’s willingness to partner with the Office of the Mayor on the issuance of New York City IDs (IDNYC) to Filipinos who are qualified, documented or otherwise. He further offered the Philippine Center as enrollment center for the IDNYC.
New York County District Attorney’s Financial Frauds Bureau Chief Gloria Garcia made her presentation regarding immigrant fraud and expressed the determination of her office in combating fraud, and their continued effort to stamp out schemes that victimize vulnerable individuals.
Former New York Police District (NYPD) Deputy Inspector Edward Carrasco, the highest-ranking Filipino-American in the history of the NYPD, discussed recent immigration developments in the United States, particularly regarding significant changes on immigration rules and regulations.
As a former NYPD officer, Carrasco, who is a lawyer by profession, also provided pointers on how to act appropriately with police officers, particularly when confronted by police authorities or when pulled-over by traffic police.
At the end of the seminar, Cristobal thanked the panelists and participants even as he reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring that migration concerns remain a major policy concern of the Philippine Consulate as it affects the well-being of all Filipinos in the U.S. Northeast.