Access is at the heart of what the Refugee Translation Project does. Access to justice, access to the immigration system, access to information that helps keep individuals, families, and communities safe. We were thrilled to hear NYC council member Carlos Menchaca celebrate the Refugee Translation Project at our Artist Spotlight event in December. Carlos is an indefatigable champion for NYC’s immigrant community, who funded a robust adult literacy services program as well as the country’s largest public defender program for undocumented immigrants, granting thousands of people access to justice and information. Carlos also authored the legislation for IDNYC, an ID card that enables all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, to access benefits and programs, open a bank account, take the high school equivalency exam, and enter their children’s schools.
“As an elected official and representative in a city like New York where immigrants are so imbedded into the fabric of the city,” Carlos told us at the event, “there are so many gaps that government leaves, and language access is one of them, that people, unless they go through it, don’t really understand it.” With the support of elected officials and activists like Carlos the Refugee Translation Project provides free translation services to people seeking asylum and other immigration relief. We also work closely with our partner organizations in New York City to translate vital information that help people better understand the immigration process, local and federal laws, and the services that are available to them.
As we enter 2022, we are excited to continue our efforts alongside our new Council Members to provide language access to New Yorkers.