AG James Launches Hotline to Combat Coronavirus Hate Crimes and Xenophobic Rhetoric

Individuals Who Have Experienced Hate Crimes and Bias-Based Incidents Are Encouraged to Call the Ongoing Hotline at 1-800-771-7755, or Email Civil.Rights@ag.ny.gov 

NEW YORK – Attorney General Letitia James [on March 23, 2020] announced the launch of a hotline for New Yorkers to report hate crimes and bias-based incidents. The hotline, which will continue indefinitely, comes in the wake of rising reports of harassment and assaults, as well as rhetoric against Asian Americans amidst the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. 

“As we face an unprecedented and uncertain time for New York, the United States, and the world, we must reiterate the fact that this pandemic does not give anyone an excuse to be racist, xenophobic, or biased,” said Attorney General James. “No one should live in fear for their life because of who they are, what they look like, or where they come from. I encourage all victims of discriminatory actions stemming from this pandemic to contact my office. We will continue to work with local law enforcement to combat hate in all its insidious forms.”

In the last week alone, there have been numerous reports in New York of Asian Americans being harassed or physically assaulted as a result of this pandemic. The last several weeks have also seen a rise in anti-Asian rhetoric through the use of terms such as ‘Chinese virus,’ creating a stigma around Asian communities. This comes on the heels of a record number of hate crimes over the past several months in New York, demonstrating the urgent need for action. The Attorney General’s Office, in its commitment to combating these heinous acts, implores everyone, from everyday New Yorkers, to individuals at the highest levels of government, to stand united against hate, now more than ever.

“During this public health crisis, people are fighting for their lives – fighting to keep their families safe. Yet these incessant, irresponsible, and atrocious naming of COVID-19 as the ‘Chinese virus’ or ‘Wuhan virus’ is endangering the lives of Asian Americans. I thank Attorney General James for setting up this necessary hotline for New Yorkers to report coronavirus-related hate crimes or biased-based incidents,” said U.S. Representative Grace Meng. “I have repeatedly called on public officials – from the President to the top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives – to abstain from using derogatory language that demonizes Asian Americans. This must stop. Public officials – and the media – must speak truth to power and refrain from dabbling in misinformation or conspiracy theories. I’m urging all New Yorkers to come together, call virus the coronavirus, and report to the hotline those who would use this uncertain time to make racist, xenophobic or biased attacks.”

“Long scapegoated and cast as ‘yellow peril,’ Asian Americans are besieged on two fronts by the COVID-19 contagion, with outbreaks of ignorance and bigotry sometimes inflicting more harm than the virus itself,” said State Senator John Liu. “More and more hateful incidents are occurring, ranging from distasteful gestures to obnoxious name-calling to outright violence against Asian-Americans — and despicably condoned by the president himself. The battle against the coronavirus has actually brought out the best among New Yorkers but it is necessary to remind some not to let fear of the unknown devolve into irrational and inexcusable hate, and we thank beloved Attorney General Tish James for leading the charge on this front as well.”

“Currently our community is dealing with COVID-19, a global pandemic — but our community is also facing another virus: extreme anti-Asian xenophobia,” said State Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou. “While we battle this crisis, it has become abundantly clear that the coronavirus does not discriminate based on race. Yet, people are using COVID-19 as an excuse to perpetuate racism and xenophobia throughout New York and the entire country. There have been so many reports of Asian Americans being attacked because they were just riding the subway or wearing a face mask. The attacks are hateful, and go out of their way to blame our community. It is important that we stand together and remain educated on the growing emergency. Together we must stop the spread of the unfounded harmful stereotypes and hateful words that people are using to demonize our Asian American community through thoughtful and reasonable discussions. Thank you to the Attorney General for setting up a hotline to address and to better support our community through this devastating time of unfounded xenophobia and hate crimes against our community.”

Although local law enforcement is responsible for criminally prosecuting these perpetrators, the Attorney General’s Office is taking on this issue in other ways, including connecting victims and impacted communities to available resources, launching civil investigations, and supporting local law enforcement, among other steps.

The Attorney General urges those experiencing hate crimes and bias incidences to report them by emailing the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Bureau at civil.rights@ag.ny.gov, or calling 1-800-771-7755. 

Legislature Releases List of Candidates for Attorney General

Legislature Releases List of Candidates for Attorney General

NAPABA and APALA-NJ Congratulate Gurbir S. Grewal on nomination to serve as Attorney General of New Jersey

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For Immediate Release

Dec. 12, 2017

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Asian Pacific America Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ) congratulate Gurbir S. Grewal on his nomination by New Jersey Governor-Elect Phil Murphy to serve as the attorney general of New Jersey. When confirmed, Grewal will be the first Asian Pacific American to serve as the attorney general of New Jersey and the first Sikh American to serve as a state’s attorney general in the nation.

“We congratulate Gurbir Grewal on his historic nomination to serve as attorney general of New Jersey,” said Pankit J. Doshi, president of NAPABA. “An accomplished lawyer and public servant, Mr. Grewal has demonstrated his commitment to the community and the skills needed to lead the state’s law enforcement agency. Following the recent xenophobic incidents in New Jersey, his appointment is a reminder that diversity is something we all value. As a member of the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey, he serves as a role model to attorneys and law students around the nation.”

“This is truly a historic moment,” said Jack Chan, president-elect of APALA-NJ. “APALA-NJ congratulates Prosecutor Grewal on this well-deserved accomplishment, and we applaud Governor-Elect Murphy for making the nomination.”

Grewal currently serves as the Bergen County prosecutor, a position to which he was appointed by Gov. Chris Christie in 2016. From 2010 to 2016, he served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, including two years as the chief of the Economic Crimes Unit. Previously, he was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of New York and in private practice at Howrey LLP.

Grewal is a member of APALA-NJ and a 2017 recipient of the APALA-NJ Trailblazer Award for his leadership in the legal community. Grewal graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in 1995. He obtained his law degree from the College of William & Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law in 1999.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, 202-775-9555, bschuster@napaba.org; or Arupa Barua, APALA-NJ vice president of communications, atapalanjinfo@gmail.com.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of almost 50,000 attorneys and over 80 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government.

To learn more about NAPABA, visit www.napaba.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter(@NAPABA).

The Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ) founded in 1985 and incorporated in 1993, is the largest specialty bar association that collectively represents the interests of Asian and Pacific American lawyers in the State of New Jersey. APALA-NJ educates its members and the community about issues of critical concern to Asian Americans, and it supports the entrance and advancement of Asian Americans into and within the legal profession.

To learn more about APALA-NJ, visit www.apalanj.org.

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES HOTLINE FOR VOTERS TO ENSURE BALLOT ACCESS DURING STATEWIDE GENERAL ELECTIONS

News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 29, 2015

New York City Press Office / 212-416-8060 Albany Press Office / 518-776-2427 nyag.pressoffice@ag.ny.gov Twitter: AGSchneiderman

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES HOTLINE FOR VOTERS TO ENSURE BALLOT ACCESS DURING STATEWIDE GENERAL ELECTIONS

Attorney General Addresses Barriers To The Ballot Box By Offering Voters A Statewide Election Day Hotline

NEW YORK –Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman will operate a statewide Election Day Hotline during the general election this Tuesday, November 3rd. Voters encountering barriers to access at their polling sites can report those issues to the Attorney General’s Office by calling the hotline at 800-771-7755, or by emailing the office at civil.rights@ag.ny.gov.  The Hotline will be available from 6:00 A.M. until 9:00 P.M. on Election Day.

“The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, and every eligible voter must be able to participate meaningfully in our electoral process,“ said Attorney General Schneiderman. “My office will not tolerate any barriers that hinder eligible New Yorkers from casting an effective ballot during Tuesday’s election.”

Polls open at 6:00 A.M. and close at 9:00 P.M in all counties across the state.

The Attorney General’s Civil Rights Bureau has operated the statewide Election Day Hotline since November 2012.  In that time the Bureau has fielded hundreds of calls and worked with dozens of Boards of Elections across the state to address barriers at polling sites throughout New York state, including reports pertaining to polling site accessibility for voters with disabilities, language accessibility for non-English speaking voters, voter intimidation and other ballot access issues.

The Attorney General’s Election Day Hotline is being led by Assistant Attorney General Ajay Saini of the Civil Rights Bureau, which is led by Bureau Chief Kristen Clarke.  The Social Justice Division is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Alvin Bragg.

Press Release: Attorney General Schneiderman and Mayor De Blasio Announce Joint Task Force to Combat Immigration Services Fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 2, 2015

New York City Press Office / 212-416-8060
Albany Press Office / 518-776-2427
nyag.pressoffice@ag.ny.gov
Twitter: @AGSchneiderman

Coordinated Enforcement Effort Will Hold Fraudsters Accountable & Encourage Victims To Come Forward

Part of Nationwide Effort To Support President Obama’s Immigration Reform by Combatting Those That Take Advantage Of Vulnerable Immigrants

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the formation of a new joint task force to target those who prey on immigrants, while encouraging victims of fraud to come forward without fear.

The task force, led by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs, together with the Office of Attorney General, will dedicate enforcement resources and conduct a public awareness campaign to stop predators from taking advantage of immigrant communities in advance of the full implementation of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

“Together we are sending a powerful message that New York has zero tolerance for anyone who seeks to prey on immigrants and their families,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “As the president’s executive action goes into effect, New York is taking the lead to root out fraud against those looking for a better life. Through this strategic partnership, we will hold accountable those who take advantage of vulnerable immigrants and help make the goals of the president’s action a reality for thousands of New Yorkers.”

“The president’s immigration reforms will initiate an economic, political and social transformation of our cities and our country, but unfortunately, this progress also brings new opportunities for criminals who prey on the most vulnerable among us,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Our joint city-state anti-fraud task force will stop fraudsters in their tracks and provide a safe place for immigrant fraud victims to come forward. While New York is taking bold action, we are also working in collaboration with cities and states across the country to prevent fraud and protect families nationwide.”

“The president’s bold action gives thousands of New Yorkers a path toward security and stability, but that promise can be threatened by fraudsters looking to profit from immigrant vulnerability,” said Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Nisha Agarwal. “Immigrants should be careful to avoid fraud by going to high-quality trusted services, including those supported by the city. By committing the resources of our city and state agencies as part of this task force, New York is taking a leading role to ensure the new process is enacted with integrity.”

“Too many immigrant New Yorkers have been victims of predatory immigration service providers who fleece consumers of thousands of dollars while failing to provide bona fide services. These providers often leave immigrants more vulnerable than they were before,” said DCA Commissioner Julie Menin. “Mayor de Blasio has committed to protecting all of New York City’s immigrants, and DCA is proud to be partnering with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to engage in public outreach and appropriate enforcement actions to ensure that our City’s immigrants are protected.”

“For too long, scam artists have taken advantage of the vulnerability of new immigrants,” said Assemblyman Francisco Moya. “This new anti-fraud task force sends a strong message that New York is prepared for the President’s immigration reforms and that we will not tolerate immigration-related fraud. As a lawmaker who has spent many years advocating for anti-fraud measures that protect new immigrants from predatory employment agencies, I am intimately aware of how fraudsters seek to exploit immigrants. I commend Mayor Bill de Blasio and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for taking this innovative and pro-active approach to combating fraud. This initiative helps demonstrate that New York is a welcome home for immigrants.”

“Immigrants across New York will welcome this new Task Force as a much-needed effort to bring new energy to this issue throughout New York City and State,” said Javier H. Valdés, co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York. “As New Yorkers prepare for the administrative relief that President Obama announced last November, it’s critical that New York steps up its enforcement of unscrupulous notarios who take advantage of our communities. Make the Road New York applauds the Mayor and Attorney General for this new effort, and we are eager to work with the Task Force to ensure its success.”

“For organizations like La Fuente, the fight against fraudulent legal service providers who target immigrants aspiring to legal status has been daunting,” said Lucia Gomez, Executive Director, La Fuente. “The announcement that Mayor de Blasio and State Attorney General Schneiderman will launch a joint Anti-Immigration Fraud Task Force demonstrates a commitment to addressing head-on an issue that has plagued our immigrant communities for decades. This laudable effort will provide immigrant communities across the state a more robust effort to ensure predators are reported and dealt with by the proper authorities. With this announcement, New York has once again demonstrated its commitment to advancing immigrant rights and recognizing the value of its diverse population.”

“New York City truly stands as example of inclusion for our immigrant residents, yet too often newly arrived New Yorkers stay in the shadows despite being victims of fraud that threaten their well-being and financial stability,” said Grace Bonilla, President for The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families. “CHCF whole heartedly supports and congratulates Mayor de Blasio and Attorney General Schneiderman for addressing these injustices and providing communities that give so much to this city an avenue to come forward, stop these abuses and advocate for themselves.”

“We applaud Mayor de Blasio and Attorney General Schneiderman for their bold leadership in protecting immigrants from fraudulent actors, by the creation of this very important task force. We at Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights have seen the life-shattering damage that unscrupulous immigration providers have wreaked on our community members,” said Angela Fernandez, Esq., Executive Director of Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights. “We look forward to working closely with the task force on behalf of all immigrants throughout New York State.”

“Without any pity for those who desperately seek the safety of legal residency for themselves and their families, agents of exploitation have for too long reigned with impunity,” said Luis Garden Acosta, Founder and President of El Puente. “We welcome Mayor De Blasio’s defense of our community’s defenseless and join with our Attorney General and President Obama in declaring, once and for all, Basta Ya!”

The joint task force will focus on rooting out a variety of abuses targeting immigrants, but particularly the unauthorized practice of law, commonly known as “notario fraud,” or “immigrant service provider fraud.”

New York State’s Immigration Assistance Service Enforcement Act establishes protections for immigrants who use the services of individuals or businesses that falsely represent themselves as certified legal advisors for citizenship and other issues. The law, which went into effect on February 6, 2015, stiffens penalties and adds new penalties, both criminal and civil, for violations of the Act.

The president’s recent executive action will lead many immigrants to search for legal assistance to navigate the new rules, potentially creating an opportunity for service providers or scam artists to take advantage of immigrants. Unauthorized immigration consultants can create delays in the application process, cost applicants unnecessary fees and possibly even lead to removal proceedings.

The task force is committed to undertaking the following actions:

  • Targeted enforcement and/or investigations against immigrant service providers who may be engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. These investigations could occur in partnership, where feasible, or independently by each agency.
  • Improved information-sharing to identify illegal activity and coordinate enforcement efforts. In collaboration with community organizations, the task force will establish an information pipeline to connect on-the-ground reports of immigration fraud hotspots to city agencies and the Attorney General’s Office to stop problematic service providers or practices.
  • Increased public awareness outreach to engage vulnerable communities and encourage victims to come forward. City agencies and the Attorney General’s Office will collaborate on public education campaigns to bring attention to potential abuses wherever they exist.
  • Continual expansion to include other relevant governmental entities and provide a blueprint for cities and states across the country to adopt best practices. As part of Cities United for Immigration Action, New York City is working in close collaboration with partner cities to develop a national model to combat immigration services fraud.

Attorney General Schneiderman has a strong track record for combating immigration services fraud and other actions that ensure equal opportunity for immigrant communities. Recent examples of actions taken by his Civil Rights Bureau include the establishment of a $2.2 million restitution fund for victims of one of the nation’s largest immigration services schemes, action to combat fraud perpetrated by employment agencies that target vulnerable immigrant communities; and efforts to ensure equal educational opportunity for unaccompanied minors and undocumented youth regardless of immigration status.

The de Blasio administration has a proven track record for welcoming immigrant New Yorkers. From access to federal immigration benefits, citizenship and U-visa application assistance, to the city’s response to the unaccompanied child migrant crisis and new Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer legislation to dramatically reduce deportations, the city has led a movement that cements the notion that a city’s prosperity and strength depends upon its new American residents having ample opportunities to reach their fullest potential and contribute to the well-being of our communities.

On April 12th, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs will co-host an executive action legal screening for immigrant New Yorkers who might be eligible for the DACA/DAPA programs. While implementation of these programs is temporarily on hold, providing reliable information and combatting abuse is more important than ever. This legal screening event will mark an important citywide collaboration between the city’s largest legal service providers and immigration advocacy groups to create a large-scale legal clinic.

The event will be held on April 12th, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El, located at East 65th Street, Manhattan. For more information: nyc.gov/deferredaction.

To report complaints regarding immigration services, contact the Attorney General’s Immigration Services Fraud Unit Hotline at (866) 390-2992 or Civil.Rights@ag.ny.gov.

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From Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s Office: Labor Rights Forum

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On behalf of the Office of the Attorney General we would like to invite you to a Labor Rights Forum on Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 6:30PM. The Attorney General and his Labor Bureau Chief Terri Gerstein will be joined by a panel of Labor Rights experts to discuss important issues impacting our community including: Minimum Wage, Overtime, Laws Related To Tipped Workers, New Laws, and Immigrant Workers. The event will take place at Gregorio Luperón High School—501 W. 165th Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Upper Manhattan.

To confirm your attendance or for more information, please email Lilliam.Perez@AG.NY.GOV or call 212-416-8754

We need your help to ensure the community forum’s success so please circulate the attached flyers and encourage your friends, family and anyone interested to attend.

English Flyer