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“Welcome NYC” Is Helping Asylum Seekers at a Critical Time

Elizabeth Park

A group of people holding banners in front of a building.
Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (QDEP)

This Spring, Brooklyn Community Foundation joined the New York City Council’s Welcome NYC initiative to move additional funding to organizations providing urgent assistance to asylum seekers across the five boroughs. Thanks to the incredible generosity of our donors, we met our $50,000 fundraising goal, allowing us to provide five additional $10,000 grants to these nonprofits already supported through our Immigrant Rights Fund:

  • Caribbean Women’s Health Association
  • Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees
  • Mexican Coalition  
  • NY Immigration Coalition  
  • Queer Detainee Empowerment Project

This funding comes at a critical time: Title 42 expired last month, setting countless refugees and asylum seekers — whose lives and well-being already hang in the balance — along increasingly uncertain paths.

Title 42 is an emergency health authority used by the Trump administration from the onset of the pandemic  as a means to expel migrants crossing the southern U.S. border without due process, in effect denying an estimated 2.8 million migrants from claiming asylum status in the United States — contradicting international and federal law protecting the right to seek asylum.

Welcome NYC beneficiaries Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (QDEP) shared that “with the expiration of Title 42, there is an expectation that there will be more asylum seekers arriving in New York City…[and] at QDEP, we are preparing ourselves to accommodate any and all LGBTQIA+ immigrants.”

QDEP helps LGBTQIA+ individuals coming out of immigration detention to secure structural, health and wellness, educational, legal, and emotional support and services, and is uniquely positioned to support LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers. QDEP is already anticipating the challenges of a post-Title 42 in New York, including creating new ways to provide specific resources to  LGBTQIA+ asylees being transported Upstate, where appropriate services may not be available.

“Thanks to the support of Brooklyn Community Foundation and our other donors we are able to ensure that LGBTQIA+, HIV+, and TGNC immigrants — a very marginalized group — receive essential necessities and resources like groceries, housing, transportation, medical aid, and much more.”

We are thankful for everyone who championed the Welcome NYC initiative, including audiences at The Jungle this Spring and our long-time Board member Gabe Schwartz and his wife Jolie Curtsinger Schwartz.

While the way forward for refugees remains precarious, we are steadfast in our commitment to supporting newly arrived asylum seekers and immigrant rights — and we are proud to advance this critical work in partnership with community-led organizations such as QDEP and our generous donors.