Volunteers needed as donations pour in for immigrant children in NYC

Pix_11.png By Monica Morales

NEW YORK — When Councilmember Mark Levine asked for donations of clothes, diapers, and toys for more than 300 immigrant children in NYC, he was overwhelmed by the generosity of New Yorkers.

“We are so touch by all the bags and bags donated. It keeps on coming,” said Levine’s Chief of Staff, Aya Keefe.

At first, Levine’s office started collecting and placing items in his district office, but the space quickly became too small.

“This could take over our church yes, but we don’t mind. It’s a great way for New Yorkers to help,” said Rev. Kevin wright, who opened up Riverside Church, in Morningside Heights, to store donations.

Now, there is a need for volunteers to sort and deliver these items to the children.

If you want to volunteer or give, visit http://www.marklevine.nyc/childrefugees?splash=1

The ride sharing company Via has been donating their services to move donations.

Read the full story here.

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Neoyorquinos se vuelcan en ayuda a niños separados de sus familias


Muchos neoyorquinos han seguido la cobertura en la prensa de los niños separados de sus padres en la frontera, y de entre estos los que han sido enviados por el gobierno federal a New York.

En total son más de 200 de estos niños que están en guarderías y otros centros en la ciudad.

Lo que llama la atención es que muchos neoyorquinos han ido más lejos de simplemente mostrar su sorpresa o molestia ante la separación de estos niños de sus padres: han pasado a la acción donando víveres o colaborando como voluntarios.

"Gracias a la increíble muestra de generosidad de los residentes no solo de nuestra ciudad, pero de todo el país, hemos recolectado una enorme cantidad de ropa, diapers, juguetes, productos de higiene personal y mucho más", explicó el concejal de Manhattan Mark Levine, quien inició el llamado para que la gente donara.

Han sido tales las cantidades de los víveres y otros productos donados, que para el lunes la oficina de Levine pedía que mejor ya no se donara nada y que quien quisiera ayudar que lo hiciera con contribuciones financieras a las organizaciones humanitarias que ayudan a los refugiados. 

"Pedimos que las donaciones físicas ya no sean enviadas a nuestra oficina", escribió Levine en su página de Facebook. 

Lo sucedido es un ejemplo de la época actual que se vive en el país en la que las redes sociales juegan un tremendo papel en la movilización del público. Levine básicamente consiguió las montañas de donaciones gracias a su página de Facebook y a su sitio de internet.

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President Trump Pushes Back On Immigration, Stands With So-Called ‘Angel Families’


WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBSNewYork) – Capping off a contentious week over the more than 2,000 migrant children separated from their families at the southern border, President Donald Trump fired back at critics Friday.

The president stood alongside so-called “Angel Families” and introduced them as “the other side” of the immigration story. He said the families are the victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants.

Laura Wilkerson’s 18-year-old son was murdered in 2010.

“We weren’t lucky enough to be separated for five days or 10 days, we’re separated permanently,” she said. “Any time we want to see or be close to our kids we go to the cemetery.”

Earlier this week, Trump signed an executive order to keep children with their parents who cross the border illegally. Details of the order are still being sorted out.

U.S. officials told CBS News most children separated from their families by U.S. Customs and Border Protection would be reunited by the end of the day Friday. The directive, though, did not apply to the more than 2,000 children being held by the Department of Health and Human Services.

One reunion took place Friday morning at Baltimore–Washington International Airport in Maryland. Beata Mejia-Mejia’s 7-year-old son had been taken from her in May after they arrived from Guatemala. She sued to regain custody and the Department of Justice agreed to release the boy.

At a rally outside a federal immigration detention center in New Jersey, Sen. Bob Menendez spoke by phone to an immigrant separated from his family.

“He was going to be here, but he was threatened to lose his job,” said Menednez.

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In New York, Even a Count of Separated Children Proves Elusive

WRAL_Logo.pngBy Liz Robbins and Annie Correal

NEW YORK — On Friday, officials in New York still did not have answers to even the most basic questions about the children who had been separated from their parents at the southern border and relocated 2,000 miles away: How many were there, and where had they been placed?

Both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio sent letters demanding that information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. When it was not forthcoming, Cuomo threatened the 10 agencies that had accepted the separated children, and which the state also regulates, to turn over the children’s names or lose their operating certificates.

But because they are bound by their contracts with the federal government not to disclose information about children in their care, the agencies said they could not share it, even with the state.

So faith leaders and local elected officials pieced together the numbers: About 60 children each at Catholic Guardian Services, Lutheran Social Services and Abbott House, all in the Bronx, according to officials who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the information. Another 19 had been at the Westchester children’s residence visited by Cuomo on Thursday. And there were 243 at Cayuga Centers in East Harlem, according to the latest figures from the mayor’s office. Officials seemed to be learning new numbers every few hours, as they tried to account for the 700 children Cuomo spoke of Thursday.

The confusion underscored just how chaotic the situation was, with lawyers frantically scrambling to figure out how to represent the children, and Cayuga, which had the most children, urgently looking for staff and asking for more Spanish-speaking volunteers to serve as foster parents.

De Blasio blamed the Trump administration for the mess. “This was thrown together, this family separation policy, with no preparation for trying to figure out where kids would go that made any sense,” he said on WNYC radio Friday.

The mayor said it made sense to Cayuga officials that children were sent to New York, because there were “not a lot of places near the border that had this ability, as organizations, to provide the social services and provide a setting for these kids, or had enough foster care placements.”

The president ended the policy of separating children from their parents at the border with an executive order Wednesday, but there was not yet any plan in place to reunite them.

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With 100 migrant kids already back with parents, NYers pledge to create more family reunions

New_York_Daily_News_logo_(1).png By Larry McShane, Emilie Ruscoe, and Khadija Hussain

City officials braced Friday for a new surge of migrant children coming to the city from the Mexican border — even as 100 were already reunited with their parents.

Local politicians were told “there will be a growing number of unaccompanied minors coming in,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) at a Harlem news conference.

“Anywhere where these children are … we’re going to be helping them,” he continued. “Maybe God sent them our way because we have a strong network of foster-care services. And we’re going to do the best we can as a city to send them back to their families as soon as possible.”

There have already been 100 children returned to their families since arriving at the Cayuga Centers facilities in Harlem, according to officials. Some politicians suggested a 20-day cap for releasing the kids back to the custody of their moms and dads.

Espaillat was joined by City Controller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Leticia James, City Councilmember Mark Levine and state Assembly member Carmen De La Rosa.

“Trump’s immigration debate is a stain on America,” said Stringer. “But it’s clear from this meeting that it’s not going to be a stain on this city.”

At an earlier rally in the Bronx, an assortment of speakers — politicians, religious leaders and local activists — ripped into the administration’s divisive policy.

“It’s hard to say what I really feel because I would have to take to take off my (clerical) collar,” said Bishop Angelo Rosario, head of the Bronx Clergy Task Force. “(Trump) is possessed. He needs to be delivered.”

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. blasted the zero-tolerance approach embraced by the federal government as “nothing short of state-sponsored child abuse.”

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100 Migrant Kids Taken To Harlem Now Reunited With Family

Patch-Logo_(1).png By Brendan Krisel

EAST HARLEM, NY — One hundred immigrant children taken to an East Harlem foster care facility after being taken to New York City from the southern border have been reunited with family members, city officials said after touring the facility Friday.

City, state and federal officials praised social workers at the Cayuga Centers of East Harlem who are trying to reunite children with family members as soon as possible. Of the 239 children taken to the facility, about 60 percent arrived at the border alone and 40 percent were separated from their families, Congressman Adriano Espaillat told reporters.

Cayuga Centers staff have been able to match many children with older siblings and connected family members because they arrived in New York City with identifying materials or contact information for relatives, officials said. There are 139 children who have not yet been matched with relatives and only two of those children have asked to be sent back to their countries of origin, Espaillat said.

Espaillat said that more than 600 children were taken to Cayuga Centers facilities in the city and the staff expects another "surge" of unaccompanied minors to arrive in the city.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer said that the Trump Administration's "zero tolerance" policy to separate children from their families at the border is a "stain on the United States, but it won't be a stain on our city." As long as unaccompanied children are being sent to New York City, officials and service providers will "meet and exceed" the challenge of taking proper care of them, Stringer said Friday.

City officials who toured the facility Friday urged the city to expedite the process for Spanish-speaking families attempting to register as foster families. Officials also urged New Yorkers to support organizations like the Cayuga Centers who are doing a "good job" of taking care of the kids sent to them. City Counilman Mark Levine stressed that the Cayuga Centers are "not complicit" in the separation of children from their families at the border and that people protesting the organization are "profoundly misguided."

"As long as kids are in New York City we need nonprofits like Cayuga to care for them," Levine said.


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New Yorkers Fight to Aid Child Victims of Trump’s Family Separation Policy

Village_Voice.png By Carey Dunne

On Thursday night, across the street from rows of garbage trucks parked under Metro-North train tracks, more than a hundred New Yorkers gathered for a silent vigil outside the headquarters of Cayuga Centers, a nonprofit foster care agency in Harlem.

Currently in the care of centers run by the agency in New York State are at least 239unaccompanied immigrant children who were separated from their parents at the southern U.S. border by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Holding signs with such slogans as “Reunite the children with their parents” and “We are disgusted and upset,” the demonstrators lit candles and arranged dozens of child-sized shoes on a blanket laid out on the sidewalk.

“We are here to protect the children who were placed in our community — unannounced, and without the consent of their parents — and to give them all the love that we can, by monitoring what is happening to them,” Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely, a local activist and honorary mayor of Harlem, told the Voice.

The vigil was among many mobilizations that were held in the city after news broke on Wednesday that, over the past few weeks, hundreds of unaccompanied immigrant children have been quietly sent to New York after being taken from their parents. Of an estimated 700 separated children in New York, some 350 have come through Cayuga Centers, one of several social service agencies in the state that the federal government contracts with to take in unaccompanied minors. According to Mayor de Blasio, these children include a nine-year-old boy from Honduras who traveled alone on a bus from Texas, as well as a nine-month-old baby.

Federal authorities never notified de Blasio that these children had arrived in New York. City officials only learned of the situation this week, after a relative of a Honduran child asked a friend to contact the mayor. City Hall still lacks critical information about the children being held in New York: exactly how many of them are here, their names and ages, their countries of origin, and the whereabouts of their parents. According to a spokesperson for City Councilmember Mark Levine, who represents the Harlem district where Cayuga Centers is located, the children are staying at various residential centers run by nonprofit agencies, including Cayuga, which is not itself a residential facility but provides daily social services for the children.

“How is the federal government holding back that information from the people of this city and holding back the help these kids could need?” De Blasio asked at a press conference on Wednesday.

“What will happen to these 300-plus kids in the next few months is a total unknown,” Councilmember Levine told the Voice. “It’s quite frightening. We have never dealt with a situation of this scale in our district. What’s arriving here today is really unprecedented for us.”

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Políticos visitan el Centro Cayuga donde menores inmigrantes están resguardados


El congresista Adriano Espaillat tiene planeado visitar el Centro Cayuga para realizar un chequeo de bienestar a los niños en sus instalaciones.

El legislador estará acompañado de otros funcionarios electos como la asambleísta de Manhattan, Carmen de la Rosa, y los concejales: Mark Levine y Diana Ayala.

La delegación quiere inspeccionar el albergue y verificar el estado de los niños que fueron separados de sus padres.

También pedirán más información sobre los detalles de su separación y posterior llegada a la ciudad.

Tras el recorrido, los funcionarios realizarán una conferencia de prensa para informar sobre sus observaciones.

Mientras tanto, el concejal Ydanis Rodríguez quiere que se deje de cubrir los rostros de los niños migrantes en cualquier centro de detención de la ciudad.

Rodríguez y otros líderes comunitarios planean reunirse, la tarde de este viernes, para pedir a los centros de detención que no cubran las caras de los menores cada vez que salgan a las calles.

Pues asegura que dicha práctica es una forma inhumana de tratar a los niños.

La protesta será frente al centro Cayuga, donde a mediados de semana descubrimos que se estaban llevando niños para albergarlos tras ser separados de sus familiares.

Lea el artículo completo aquí.

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Council Member Levine Taking Donations for Immigrant Children Who are Being Held in NYC


Mark Levine, a City Council member who represents sections of the Upper West Side and neighborhoods to the North, is accepting donations of items for the 239 children who were separated from the parents and taken to New York as part of President Trump’s immigration policy.

UPDATE: Levine’s staff tells me they’ve gotten an enormous influx of goods. and are now directing people to donate to the JCC Harlem. It will be open tonight between 6-9pm at 318 W 118th St, New York, NY 10026.

The children are being housed in East Harlem, and the city is also looking for Spanish-speaking foster parents for them.

Levine’s email is below:

President Trump’s apparent reversal today is an overdue but welcome retreat from a profoundly immoral policy of separating immigrant children from their families. But 239 children–some as young as 9 months old–are still stranded right here in New York City, thousands of miles away from their parents.

The East Harlem-based non-profit charged with caring for these children is in need of additional Spanish-speaking families to serve as foster homes. If you are interested in serving in this vital role please call the agency at 718-860-1656.

The Trump administration has announced no plans for when and how they will reunite the separated children with their families. But in the meantime, we want to make sure that the 239 kids in NYC do not want for material needs.

My office will therefore begin collecting donations of children’s clothing, diapers, and toys at our district office–located at 500 West 141st Street–beginning Thursday. Our office is open from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm and will be collecting contributions indefinitely. For more information, please call us at 212-928-6814.

Let’s not only show the world that New Yorkers reject the reprehensible immigration policies of this administration, but let’s also show these children the compassion and love they deserve but were cruelly denied.

Mark Levine

Council Member Mark Levine

Read the full story here.

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Immigrant family separations spark donations, support for children in NYC

AMNY_(1).pngBy Nicole Brown, Lisa L. Colangelo and Rajvi Desai

New Yorkers who were “heartbroken” by the news of children being separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border were eager to do what they could to help the ones that ended up in their neighborhoods.

“I feel like we failed as a society and now it’s our moral responsibility to take care of these kids and also figure out a plan to reunite them with their parents,” Ramya Lakshminarayan of Brooklyn said Thursday at Manhattan Councilman Mark Levine’s office, where donations were being collected.

Levine’s office began collecting items for the 239 children currently being served by an East Harlem foster care facility Thursday morning.

“There’s been an incredible outpouring of support,” Levine said. “New Yorkers are dropping off all sorts of clothing, diapers and other goods for young people. … People from almost every profession — lawyers who want to provide legal aid. We’ve had pediatricians call. We’ve had families offering to foster the children.”

The children at the Cayuga Center on Park Avenue are among thousands who have been separated from their parents as a result of President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. Following a large public outcry, the president signed an executive order Wednesday to stop the separations. He also ordered agencies on Thursday to begin reuniting the families, but no timeline was provided.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was in Texas Thursday with other mayors to try to tour the Tornillo Migrant Children’s Facility and call for families to be reunited, said he found out Wednesday that hundreds of children had been brought to Cayuga since April. He did not know how many more children were at other centers across the city.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his office estimates there are about 700 immigrant children placed in care agencies across the entire state.

Harlem resident Rich Herrera was at Levine’s office donating toys and stuffed animals.

“We are hearing about these kids being taken from their parents...kids that look like me, sound like me, look like my kid,” he said. “It’s heartbreaking, so we are just doing what we can.”

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