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Coalition of Latino Leaders Host Press Conference on Asylum Seeker Humanitarian Crisis

New York, NY – Today, a coalition of national Latino leaders from the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Alianza Americas and the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) held a joint press conference outside of New York City’s main migrant intake center, the Roosevelt Hotel, to spotlight the national humanitarian crisis, call for additional federal aid, and announce a tour to impacted cities to highlight best practices needed to reform national immigration policies.

During today’s press conference and in their New York Daily News joint op-ed published April 29, LULAC CEO Juan Proaño, Alianza Americas Co-founder & Executive Director Oscar Chachon, and CARECEN Executive Director Abel Núñez, called on President Biden for immediate action on three vital national fronts: expediting work authorization for recently arrived and long-term immigrants, allocating sufficient federal funding to support cities dealing with this challenge, and establishing a unified national resettlement strategy to address the underlying complexities.

The thousands of asylum seekers and immigrants arriving at the Southern border are proof that the American dream remains as strong as ever — but the road toward legal, safe, and humane immigration has fallen into serious disrepair.

“The system is broken and unable to deal with the pressures migration causes on cities, states, and the nation,” said LULAC’s Juan Proaño in his opening remarks. “We must reiterate our steadfast commitment to advocating for meaningful changes, including humane treatment of migrants and orderly processes. We look forward to working with the Biden administration, municipalities, and all those involved in working to find an effective solution for all.”

Proaño added, “Additionally, after witnessing the intake process for immigrants arriving in NYC, LULAC will be sending additional members and staff as volunteers to be trained in the legal processing center as it has done in the past at the Southern border.”

Given the influx of 194,000 migrants to NYC, Mayor Eric Adams stated the following during the press conference, "New York City is proud to uphold our legacy as a city of immigrants," said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. "Over the past two years, we have provided food, medical care, and shelter to more than 194,000 asylum seekers, and because of our case work and support, more than 65 percent of migrants have taken the next steps on their path to self-sufficiency. While cities have stepped up to respond, I echo the calls of these national leaders for our federal government to take the lead on this humanitarian crisis instead of leaving it for localities to handle. I want to thank these leaders from across the country — nation al experts in immigration — for visiting New York City, recognizing our work, and spotlighting the need for federal action.”

In addition to arduous work and frontline support provided by Mayor Eric Adams and his Office of Immigrant Affairs, led by Commissioner Manuel Castro, there have been other coalition members working around the clock in their respective localities. Additional members of the coalition at today’s event included Sister Norma Pimentel, Oscar Chacon, and Abel Nunez. Other members of the coalition that were not present today include Gabby Pacheco, Adelys Ferro, Raul Raymundo, Hector Sanchez Barba, Rebecca Shi, and Sergio Suarez.

Michelle Minguez, who convened the group, said “We must continue to hold space for our leaders and experts from across the nation to address this humanitarian crisis together, sharing best practices and exploring collaborative efforts to find solutions.”

The coalition members highlighted some of the immediate needs and actions that cities, states, governments, and employers can take to immediately mediate this crisis and once and for all repair the broken immigration system. Below are a few quotes from the coalition members:

Sister Norma Pimentel said, “It is important that we work together to establish a just response that contributes to a positive outcome to our country’s immigration reality. Together we will be a nation that not only protects our borders and controls who enters our country but also establishes procedures that will uphold the dignity of humanity and defines processes that successfully establishes the benefits of immigrants in our country.”

Oscar Chachon of Alianza Americas said, “My experience coming to NYC to learn about the ways in which Mayor Adams and his team have responded to the arrival of so many people seeking support and protection in this great city, has been inspirational. I welcome our leaders, to come to Chicago and continue to find ways to learn from one another.”

Abel Núñez of CARECEN said, “In DC, we have worked hard with multiple stakeholders in developing the infrastructure to receive the migrant flow. But the majority of the migrants arriving in DC requested assisting in travel to NYC, so I commend the work being done in this city given the challenges of being a destination city, where services are needed to help in the integration of the new migrants.”

Adelys Ferro of the Venezuelan American Caucus said, “We are very grateful for Mayor Adams' initiative to bring together some of the most important Latino organizations in the country to join forces to help our immigrants. Despite the challenging nature of this endeavor, the city of New York has sought solutions with humanity and has never abandoned immigrants. Our eternal gratitude to him and his team, who work 24/7, and to all the organizations united in this fight and this petition. Immigrants have made this country great, and we will continue to do so. Congress must act.”

Rebecca Shi of the American Business Immigration Coalition said, “Employers across the country join Mayor Eric Adams to urge the President to extend work permits to new arrivals and long term immigrants who have worked and paid taxes for decades. The U.S. economy depends upon immigrants. Their labor and entrepreneurship have proven critical to alleviate labor shortages, reduce inflation and grow by $7 trillion more over the next decade.”

Hector Sanchez Barba of Mi Familia Vota said, “Our country has long been a beacon of hope for immigrants from all over the world. At our best, we help those in need to build a stronger, better tomorrow for all. We need solutions from Congress; we must update our broken immigration system to give more mechanisms for relief for migrants and more resources for cities to be welcoming to immigrants. Mi Familia Vota will always fight for immigrants' rights, and we will work with mayors to be welcoming. But we know Congress must act on immigration reform; the time is now.”

The coalition will continue to share best practices and explore collaborative efforts by visiting different cities across the U.S. to continue these important conversations over the next few weeks and months.

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About League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest Hispanic civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 535 Councils and 145,000 members around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services, and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting the critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org

About Alianza Americas
Alianza Americas is the premier transnational advocacy network of Latin American migrant-led organizations working in the United States, across the Americas, and globally to create an inclusive, equitable and sustainable way of life for communities across North, Central and South America. For more information, visit www.alianzaamericas.org.

About Central American Resource Center (CARECEN)
CARECEN empowers and responds to the needs, rights and aspirations of Latino, immigrant, and under-resourced families — building leadership to pursue self-determination and justice. Rooted in its cultural strengths and inspired by the Central American justice struggles, CARECEN envisions our diverse immigrant community as thriving; where families prosper, build effective community institutions, and participate confidently in civic life. For more information, visit https://carecendc.org/.

About Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley
Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley
Catholic Charities is the charitable branch of the Diocese of Brownsville. Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley has projects that provide assistance to the poor and most vulnerable population in our community. It is part of the larger family of Catholic Charities USA and Caritas Internacionalis. For more information, visit www.catholiccharitiesrgv.org/.

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