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Donations Pour in to Help Victims of Bronx Apartment Fire

Plus: How an upstate New York college town became a safe haven for refugees, and immigrants sue over dangerous farmworker housing

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Community members in the Bronx are gathering donations to help victims of a fire in a 19-floor apartment building over the weekend. The city’s Department of Education is collecting food, toiletries and other donations at its Bronx Borough Office at Zerega Avenue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday to Friday, as are several other community groups. In the wake of the fire, the city promised to provide support for the victims, many of whom are Muslim immigrants from the Gambia. The American Red Cross had also announced Sunday night it will provide hotel rooms for those displaced by the fire until they can return to their apartments or find housing. More resources about how to donate to the fire victims can be found here.

How an Upstate New York College Town Became a Safe Haven for Refugees

📍Documented Original 
In Documented’s latest report, we examine how the central New York city of Ithaca recently became one of the state’s major hubs for refugee resettlement. Home to two universities nestled in the scenic Finger Lakes region, the city has become an unlikely place of refuge for those fleeing dangerous situations in Myanmar, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Syria and beyond. New York state resettled 820 refugees during the 2020 fiscal year. The majority of refugees — 520 — were resettled in upstate New York. We spoke to immigrants who settled in Ithaca and are now a part of a sprawling community of refugees, asylum seekers and dissidents. 

Two Immigrants Sue New York Employer Over Dangerous Farmworker Housing

📍Documented Original
Guadalupe, a 60-year-old onion packer with diabetes and arthritis, and Gerardo, his co-worker and neighbor, are currently engaged in a lawsuit against their employer who they say failed to provide heat for more than six weeks. The temperatures dropped below freezing on 16 days, and reached zero five times in their farmworker housing in the Hudson Valley. Court documents show the men were “constructively evicted” from their homes on Gurda Gardens, an onion and lettuce packinghouse that has been in business for over 40 years. Constructive eviction — a process in which a landlord makes a tenant’s home uninhabitable, forcing them to vacate — is illegal. We dug into the case here.

NYC Republicans File Suit to Block Noncitizen Voting

New York state Republican Chair Nick Langworthy and other elected officials in the party are suing to block the city’s new law allowing noncitizens to vote in local elections. They insist the law, which went into effect Jan. 8, is unconstitutional and violates New York state and election law, including Article II of the state constitution, which connects the right to vote with citizenship. They want the law to be rendered invalid, and for an injunction to bar Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Board of Elections “from enforcing or implementing the law in any respect.” Adams’ administration intends to defend the law in court.

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