Churches On Front Lines Of Immigration Battle

Ruskin Piedra is the founder and director of the Juan Neumann Center, an organization tied to the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help church, which provides low-cost legal services to immigrants, many of whom are Latino and hail from the surrounding Sunset Park area. Piedra is a busy man. He manages about 3,000 cases, including undocumented immigrants seeking to adjust their status or who are facing deportation or seeking asylum.Piedra is not an attorney, but he has taken many courses in immigration law and procedure that qualify him to appear in immigration court. In New York, many nonprofits and charitable organizations employ representatives like Piedra who often charge less than an attorney.”These poor people have no clue and most of them don’t speak English,” Piedra said. “They have no other recourse but to come here.