The New York State Council of Churches and the Interfaith Center of New York have prepared Toward A Covenant on Behalf of New York’s Newest New Yorkers. We invite faith leaders, lay activists, volunteers, politicians and asylum seekers themselves to sign this covenant to promise to use every financial, political, and policy making tool at their disposal so as to extend the boldest hospitality possible to asylum seekers from the moment these men, women and children disembark from buses and airplanes until they have submitted their asylum applications and received work authorization and beyond.
Our objectives are the same as those of people in government:
to welcome new arrivals into our City and State;
to see them appropriately sheltered;
to provide housing vouchers so they can move out of shelters; to expedite work authorization;
to provide education and health services; and
to provide legal and pro se assistance with asylum applications.
We want to work as allies, in partnership with government, to best achieve these objectives. We will hold ourselves accountable for being available to work on these issues, and we will hold our elected and appointed officials accountable for doing what we expect them to do. We want to hasten the day when these new New Yorkers can become self-sufficient members of our communities.
In particular, the areas which we believe are most critical to realizing that goal are:
a thoughtful arrival and welcome process;
a more strategic approach to housing;
greater support for schools with large immigrant enrollments;
an accelerated work authorization system;
easier access to legal assistance;
increased coordination among levels o government; and
full transparency regarding funding and decision making.
Each of these areas is discussed in greater detail below in the body of our covenant.
If you want to be an agent for change and bold welcome, we invite you to join over 350 New Yorkers in signing the covenant.
Ruth Messinger, Social Justice Consultant
The Reverend Peter Cook, Executive Director, New York State Council of Churches
Rev. Dr. Chloe Breyer, Executive Director, The Interfaith Center of New York