A major fundraising effort in aid of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center (EIIC) is underway after cuts in funding may threaten the services it provides to Irish immigrants.

Established in 1988, the center’s two locations in the Bronx and Queens provide services to immigrants in New York City. EIIC provides these services for free and relies on funding from the Irish government, the City Council of New York, New York State and private donors.

In recent years, the not-for-profit group has seen an increase in demand for services while they simultaneously deal with cutbacks in funding.

“We have seen an upswing in demand for social services on the front line,” EIIC executive director Siobhan Dennehy told the Irish Voice.

“Possible cuts may be on the cards,” she added. “It’s about maintaining our overall portfolio of services.”

As well as countless volunteers, the two centers employ a full-time staff of 13 that provides services including immigration counseling, citizenship counseling, education, employment counseling, social services, and computer training.

“We are responding to the needs of our community as we always have,” Dennehy said.

“The center will continue, against all odds, to offer its services to our most vulnerable population.  We will do more with less thanks to our dedicated staff and our many volunteer supporters."

“The EIIC is grateful to our Woodlawn friends who have come together as a community and chosen to support the center to ensure that no one is left isolated, hungry or alone, especially our neighborhood seniors.”

As preparations are underway to mark the EIIC’s Isle’s 25th anniversary, the organization’s broad range of services also provide support for J-1 visa students coming to the U.S.

“Last week, we started seeing the new arrivals coming into the office,” Dennehy said.

“There was also quite a group waiting this morning (Tuesday) after the holidays.  We certainly welcome them.”

On June 6, Celtic Charity Inc and the AOH will host The Celtic Cruise to support the EIIC. The event will feature live music by Celtic Cross, the Cunningham Brothers, Shay Mac Band and Chris Kelly.

On Sunday, June 10 from 3-7 p.m. the Woodlawn Friends of EIIC will host a fundraiser at the Rambling House on Katonah Avenue in the Bronx.

Admission is by donation, which includes a hot buffet, live entertainment, door prize and a cash bar.
For more information about the events call the Bronx office at 718-324-3039, ext. 102.

President Michael D. Higgins at the Emerald Isle Immigration Center last month.Shane O'Neill / Fennells