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For Immediate Release:
April 17, 2014



The New York State Office for New Americans (ONA) opened registration today for free week-long Immigration Law Training courses to be held in Troy, NY the week of June 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 Andrew M. 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 pleased to offer this free and invaluable training to organizations and individuals which will ultimately help protect New Americans in the Empire State from fraud perpetrated by those masquerading as so-called ‘immigration experts,’” said Jorge Montalvo, Director, New York State Office for New Americans.  “Increasing the availability of BIA-accredited organizations will undoubtedly reduce the exploitation of some of our most vulnerable residents.”

All courses will take place at the Commission on Economic Opportunity, located at 2331 Fifth Avenue in Troy, NY from Monday, June 2 through Friday, June 6, 2014. The registration deadline is Thursday, May 1, 2014. For a full schedule of all available courses, please go to:

To reserve a spot for the week, please visit: For any questions, please contact Jonathan Vidal, 212-627-2227 Ext. 227 or
“The New York Immigration Coalition is thrilled at our continued partnership with the New York State Office for New Americans and to have been named the official State ONA BIA Trainer,” said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC). “Investing in New York’s immigrant communities is an economic imperative, and that begins by ensuring that quality, affordable legal help is available to all who need it. 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 established the New York State Office for New Americans to assist newcomers in the State who are eager to contribute to our economy and become part of the family of New York. The cornerstone of the Office is the creation of a network of 27 neighborhood-based Opportunity Centers throughout the State to support New Americans to learn English, become naturalized U.S. citizens, receive Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and receive free legal advice and other opportunities. 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 the New York State New Americans Hotline (800-566-7636), a toll-free, multi-lingual information center that responds to general questions about immigration and naturalization and provides referrals to other immigrant-related public and private programs. More than 34,000 immigrants were assisted by the Office for New Americans during its first year of operations 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  Like us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at @NYSNewAmericans; Hashtag: #NYSNewAmericans.


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

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