Tuesday, November 4, 2014

BPL Announces Two Programs to Help Immigrants

Linda E. Johnson, CEO and President of the BPL
Last week the Brooklyn Public Library announced the launch of two new programs designed to help immigrants in Brooklyn attain US citizenship and to help them with any legal services they might need.

Prepare for Citizenship is a program which will offer a formal, 11-week course for ESOL learners. The course is being offered at the Kensington, Canarsie, Sunset Park and Flatbush branches of the BPL. The course will prepare students for the English and Civics parts of the Citizenship test, plus provide free legal assistance. Prepare for Citizenship is offered under the auspices of Catholic Migration Services (CMS) ad with a grant from the Department of Homeland Security US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The second is the Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC) Community Fellows program, which offers crucial legal assistance to poor immigrants throughout Brooklyn. Two Fellows will be welcomed to the BPL, while five other organizations throughout New York City will also receive two IJC Community Fellows this year. This program will officially begin later in November.

Together these two programs offer important support to Brooklyn residents in need of assistance with legal and/or citizenship issues.

"Brooklyn Public Library serves a diverse and multiethnic borough and is a critical resource for immigrant communities, which too often face barriers accessing information and assistance," said Linda E. Johnson, president & CEO of the Brooklyn Public Library.   
“There are nearly are nearly 700,000 immigrants in New York who are one step away from becoming U.S. Citizens, and many of them haven't done so because of cost, fear of a cumbersome process, or access to legal counsel,” said Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Nisha Agarwal. “Our libraries have long acted as a safe and accessible hub for immigrants. By providing legal services, the Brooklyn Public Library is taking a smart and innovative approach that will benefit not just our immigrant communities, but our city as a whole.”