NEW YORK, March 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) received Outten & Golden's fourth annual Public Interest Award during a reception hosted by O&G to celebrate and highlight NICE's ongoing effort to ensure that new immigrants can build social, political, and economic power in their communities and beyond. Outten & Golden LLP, a national preeminent employee rights firm, is pleased to recognize the achievements and mission of NICE, founded in 1999 when local activists came together in response to anti-immigrant billboards posted by the racist Project USA in the borough of Queens. After a successful campaign to take down the billboards, NICE made a name for itself through its Government Access and Accountability Program.
In 2012, NICE, in collaboration with the Urban Justice Center, produced a cutting edge report Dreams and Schemes in Queens, New York: Immigrant Struggles to Find Work and Get Status in the Face of Consumer Fraud . The report focused on two of the most prevalent and notorious businesses targeting immigrant consumers – immigration service providers/immigration attorneys and employment agencies; it documents the systemic nature of consumer frauds committed against immigrants and offers solutions for improved laws, policies, and enforcement mechanisms to better protect immigrants.
"Wage theft and discrimination against immigrant workers are prevalent practices. NICE has been a leader in shedding light on this often overlooked group of workers. We also expect that the Dreams and Schemes report will help raise much-needed awareness on the issue of consumer fraud in the immigrant community," said Wayne Outten, managing partner of Outten & Golden.
Outten & Golden, in partnership with the Urban Justice Center's Community Development Project, developed and currently runs NICE's Worker's Committees legal clinic. The monthly clinic focuses on providing legal advice to largely undocumented Latino immigrants about their rights under the labor laws. The legal clinic has recovered thousands of dollars in unpaid wages and benefits on behalf of NICE members.