Jersey City Sets National Precedent, Shifting Immigration Narrative

U.S. Department of Justice Recognizes & Accredits the Division of Immigrant Affairs for Provision of Legal Services and Data-Driven COVID Relief Efforts for Immigrants

JERSEY CITY – Mayor Steven M. Fulop announced today, on National Citizenship Day, that Jersey City has become the first municipality in the nation accredited for offering free legal services to immigrants as part of the U.S. Department of Justice Recognition and Accreditation Program. Only two years after Mayor Fulop and the City Council created the Division of Immigrant Affairs, the newest addition to the Department of Health and Human Services has set a national precedent for helping immigrants navigate the corridors of the federal immigration system, an often lengthy and confusing process.

The honor, traditionally reserved for agencies and nonprofit groups, is being awarded as Jersey City is recognized for yet another prestigious national award recognizing Jersey City’s rise as a national leader in integrating immigrants. The New American Economy (NAE) Research Award has named Jersey City as one of twelve communities to receive NAE research to further the Administration’s efforts to address socioeconomic disparities within immigrant populations. The NAE research has been shared with community groups and nonprofit organizations to aid their work.

“As the most diverse city in the entire nation, we strive to cultivate meaningful relationships with our immigrant population who are traditionally underserved,” said Mayor Fulop. “Our city notably places its Division of Immigrant Affairs within the Department of Health and Human Services, and sees the integration and overall success of immigrants in the context of public health.”

With DOJ accreditation, HHS staff can fulfill unmet needs for legal assistance. They are authorized to answer complex questions, provide guidance, and liaise the bureaucratic immigration system that is becoming more and more restrictive to support individuals who choose Jersey City as home. Without this help, immigrants would have to pay private attorneys or take their chances with unlicensed notarios.

By INSIDER NJ
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