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For Immediate Release:
March 12, 2014
Contact: 518-486-9846
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The New York State Office for New Americans (ONA) has opened registration today for a free two-day series of Immigration Law Training courses to be held in Rochester, NY on April 1-2, 2014 to help not-for-profit organizations and non-attorneys obtain recognition and accreditation by the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). BIA accreditation allows non-attorney staff of recognized agencies to represent individuals before U.S. immigration authorities. This training is being held as part of Governor Cuomo’s opportunity agenda for New Americans, which aims to help immigrants fully participate in New York State’s civic and economic life and is being conducted for ONA by the New York immigration Coalition.
“New York State is taking proactive steps to protect immigrants from fraud perpetrated by scam artists posing as immigration experts,” said New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales, who oversees ONA for Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “Increasing the availability of BIA-accredited organizations is another step in helping reduce this exploitation by unscrupulous individuals. We encourage all not-for-profit organizations serving New York State’s immigrant community to take advantage of this free and important training.”

The training will take place at the ONA Opportunity Center in Monroe County hosted by the Catholic Family Center, located at 87 N. Clinton Avenue, in Rochester on Tuesday April 1 and Wednesday, April 2, 2014. The registration deadline is March 15, 2014. For a full schedule of all available courses, please go to:

To reserve a spot for any of these sessions, please visit:  For any questions, please contact Jonathan Vidal, 212-627-2227 Ext. 227 or

“The New York Immigration Coalition is proud to continue to work with the New York State Office for New Americans as the official State ONA BIA Trainer,” said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC). “As Congress debates the future of immigration reform, it is more important than ever to ensure that new New Yorkers have access to quality, affordable legal help. We are proud to be part of ONA’s mission to significantly expand these services.” 

Only duly-licensed attorneys or BIA-accredited representatives may assist in immigration proceedings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review’s immigration courts and Board of Immigration Appeals (Board), or before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Training is a requirement of the BIA accreditation process. 

Governor Cuomo created the New York State Office for New Americans as the first statewide office dedicated to helping our state's immigrants contribute to the economy and become part of the family of New York. The cornerstone of ONA’s effort to help New Americans fully participate in New York State civic and economic life is the creation of a network of 27 neighborhood-based ONA Opportunity Centers located throughout New York State. The ONA Opportunity Centers are hosted within existing culturally competent, language-accessible community-based organizations. The ONA Opportunity Center network is supported by a team of attorneys who are experts in immigration law. Along with the ONA Legal Counsels, the ONA Opportunity Center network is supported by a toll-free, multi-lingual hotline to respond to general questions about immigration and naturalization and provide referrals to other immigrant-related public and private programs. The ONA Opportunity Center network will assist more than 100,000 New Americans over the first three years with English-for-Speakers-of-Other-Languages training; naturalization and DACA assistance; federal immigration law and policies information and referrals; and business development training.

For more information, visit the ONA website at and follow on Twitter at @NYSNewAmericans; Hashtag: #NYSNewAmericans. Information and referrals are also available through the New York State New Americans Hotline (1-800-566-7636), a toll-free, multi-lingual information center providing live assistance on general questions about immigration and naturalization.


Laz Benitez/Edison Alban (NYS Office for New Americans)                             212-417-5803

Jonathan Vidal  (New York Immigration Coalition)                                            212-627-2227