Dear Friends of the Immigrants Assistance Center,
The Immigrants’ Assistance Center was established in 1971 as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization with the stated mission to “help immigrants overcome language, cultural and economic barriers, and integrate into the American way of life while maintaining their ethnic identity and pride”. The Center serves as the point of access for all immigrants to every type of social service available in the Greater New Bedford Area. In addition, the IAC helps non-English speaking individuals to access information and services – a vital link between the non-English speaking community and all of the other public and private service agencies and providers in the area. For over 45 years the Immigrants’ Assistance Center has been at the forefront of providing a broad range of services to the immigrant communities in the Greater New Bedford area including initially:
* Assist immigrant families to advocate for their children’s education.
* Assist families in navigating the complex health care system.
* Assist elders and families in accessing critical social services.
* Teach English as a second language.
* Provide guidance and support to attain citizenship.
* Information, case management, and referral for needed services.
* Translation/interpretation services.
* Provides (ESOL) English classes 5 days a week, both day and evening.
* Offers civics classes 4 days a week both mornings and afternoons.
* Pathways to Citizenship classes, application assistance and Citizenship Ceremonies
* Contracts with Coastline Elderly Services to provide support for seniors.
* Provides outreach and health benefits eligibility to limited-English speakers.
* Developed a social day program for non-English speaking elders that meets weekly.
* Sponsors an Annual Health Fair each September.
* Provides monthly health screenings at the Center.
* Provides emergency utility assistance to those in need.
Services recently added:
* Holds “know your rights” programs for immigrant students in the New Bedford public schools and evening programs for immigrant adults at the Center.
* Has a protocol with the Azorean Government to provide weekly outreach services to inmates facing deportation at the Bristol County House of Correction.
* Provides social services and moral support to deportee families.
* Implemented a Multicultural International Guidance Outreach Services (AMIGOS) program for at risk students in the New Bedford public schools to assist with language and social needs.
* Developed and implemented a social, educational and emotional support program at * NB High School for recent immigrant youth at risk – the majority of which are unaccompanied youths- those who arrived in the US without parents or guardians.
* And most recently, Hosted a DACA renewal information session and DACA renewal clinic on September 23, 2017.
Today the needs of the immigrant community have increased three-fold or more, as seen by the number of programs listed above, and are due to anxiety over the current administration’s call for deportation of all undocumented, and/or criminal immigrants as well as removing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status for immigrants who were brought into this country as very young children. Those holding green cards, i.e. legal residents, if stopped for a minor offense, will be held for deportation. DACA children, or those with legal green cards often are living with undocumented adults and fear that they might return home to a house without those adults. The fear and worry is ever-present.The Administration, with the stroke of a pen, is eliminating Temporary Protected Status (TPS) immigrants as well, sending them back to their war-torn or crime ridden, or weather devastated countries; countries they no longer recognize as theirs. The fear and anxiety can only increase.
The Immigrants’ Assistance Center needs to double its staff, double its programs, double its budget and out of necessity currently, relies heavily on volunteer help to provide for its immigrant community. For example, applications for citizenship have gone from approximately 150 per year to well over 500 this year. The IAC has added, out of necessity, programs in the New Bedford schools for counseling for students, programs for other services providers, holds programs to advise parents and young adults on “know your rights”. English classes are held five days a week, tutoring for preparation of citizenship are held weekly as well. The services go on. And the needs of the community most certainly will increase.
The IAC needs your end-of-year donations more now than ever to continue to provide for our immigrant community. Your donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Please support the Immigrants’ Assistance Center’s team’s herculean efforts. Donations may be made via the IAC’s website: www.immigrantsassistancecenter.org. And please provide your name as you would like it to be listed on the IAC’s donor list.
With thanks and gratitude,
Helena DaSilva Hughes, Executive Director
Immigrants Assistance Center
50 Crapo Street
New Bedford, MA. 02740