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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ratbstard's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    New Alien City-(formerly New York City)

    Gov. Cuomo proposes new state office to help refugees and immigrants with citizenship

    By Michelle Breidenbach
    The Post-Standard
    Published: Monday, January 09, 2012, 2:00 AM

    In the fine print of his State of the State message last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he would create an Office for New Americans to help immigrants on the path to citizenship and jobs.

    Cuomo did not say much about the promise, but it is already welcome news to refugees and other immigrants who are trying to gain traction in Syracuse.

    The Rev. Blessed Sikhosana, a U.S. immigrant from Zimbabwe and an advocate for refugees, said America is doing a good job of rescuing people from violence and famine in many countries. But once the refugees arrive, the government needs to pay better attention to language and cultural differences and the emotional and medical needs that come from trauma in war-torn countries.

    Her suggestion is that any new government office go beyond basic home and job placement and really get to know the people and their abilities.

    “The governor, I want to bless him for offering to step up and do this,” she said. “But my suggestion is that he looks at the refugee. They need to find out who a refugee is. Then, you can cater to the needs.”

    One problem, she said, is that refugees who were teachers, doctors or other professionals at home cannot practice those jobs in New York without a U.S. education and a license. It can take years to qualify.

    After they left Congo, Emmanuel Ndeze and his wife, Sarafina Nyirabwiza, were trained and taught for eight years in Ugandan refugee camps. Ndeze speaks seven languages, but he does not have the master’s degree required to teach in the United States.

    Instead, the two teach for free. They invite others who share their languages to learn to read and write English in their home on the North Side of Syracuse.

    For her part, Sikhosana is working without government help to set up a learning center for students on the North Side who need a quiet place to do homework. A Schenectady-based group of retired GE volunteers donated 20 computers and she is looking for a rent-free place to set them up.

    Helen Malina, director of the non-profit Center for New Americans at Interfaith Works in Syracuse, said she knows doctors, nurses and teachers who take jobs well below their skill level as they struggle to get licenses. Iraqi engineers perform low-level technical jobs. A nurse is waxing eyebrows in the mall, she said.

    “We have all of these incredibly talented people, I’m particularly thinking of physicians, that arrive in this country and it takes them years to be physicians here,” she said. “Some of them, of course, don’t even bother.”

    About 900 refugees come to Syracuse each year, she said.

    The refugee population in Syracuse has grown so much that it has been credited with keeping the city’s population stable over the last 10 years. According to the 2010 census, Syracuse lost only 1.5 percent of its population — the slowest rate of decline since the 1960 census.

    Cuomo said last week that a new Office for New Americans would help the many legal, permanent residents eager to contribute to the economy and become part of the family of New York. The office would help highly-skilled people get licenses and low-skilled people get education and job training. The office would promote programs that encourage new Americans to participate in New York civic and economic life and would help people navigate the path to citizenship. It also would encourage entrepreneurship.

    “We are not afraid of immigrants in New York – because we are immigrants, and children of immigrants, and we know how much they contribute to the state,” the governor said.

    Cuomo spokesman Matt Wing said the office would not say more about the proposal. The governor is drawing up a proposed budget for the next fiscal year and is expected to unveil it Jan. 17.

    Contact Michelle Breidenbach at or 470-3186.
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  2. #2
    Senior Member dogpile's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Phoenix, AZ
    Love how the reporter focuses the entire piece on "refugees" when we know damn well this office will spend 99% of its time helping illegal aliens avoid prosecution and deportation, and to unlawfully obtain social service benefits.

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