Legal & Community Services


Members of DRUM receive the following set of benefits:

 Pro-bono legal representation and advice in immigration and labor law (see above)
 Picture I.D. card
 Translation for letters and court documents, with employers, school officials, etc
 Referrals for services in housing, public benefits, domestic violence, health care, and job training
 Computer training- basic skills such as email, resume writing
 Vouchers for free English classes
 Health screenings
 Travel opportunities to national advocacy trips, trainings, and convenings

Additional benefits provided to members include:

‣ DACA Legal Clinics

Monthly clinics staffed with attorneys from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund to provide free consultations and casework on:

— DACA applications
— DACA renewals
— Applications followup
— Alternative Referrals

‣ Immigration Legal Clinics

Monthly clinics staffed with attorneys from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund to provide free advice and casework on:

— Deportation proceedings
— Asylum claims
— Green-card and citizenship processes

‣ Workers Rights Legal Clinics

Monthly clinics staffed with attorneys from the Community Development Project of the Urban Justice Program offering free advice and casework on:

— Back wage claims
— Wage and hour issues
— Employment discrimination

‣ Street Vendor Services

In partnership with VAMOS Unidos, we assist South Asian language speakers to:

— Apply for street vending licenses
— Run workshops in Bengali, Urdu, and Hindi on the NYC Green Carts license program
— Outreach to street vendors on legal requirements and rights

‣ Refugee and Canada Border Support

We support refugee South Asian families being deported from Canada and entering the U.S. with the following services and advocacy:

— Advocate with border officials
— Provide letters of support to prevent detention
— Provide temporary shelter, transport, and needs for refugee families
— Find free or low-cost attorneys
— Assist in school enrollment, and finding housing and employment



‣ Report: Workers Rights are Human Rights: South Asian Immigrant Workers in New York City (July 2012)

This groundbreaking report documents the working conditions and patterns of labor violations of South Asian low-wage workers across five industries in New York City. Workers across five industries (domestic, retail, restaurant, taxi, and construction workers) carried out community surveying and identified policy recommendations at the local, state, and federal levels.  The report has received wide endorsement (link) and recognition as a first ever report of South Asian low wage migrant workers across industries.

Some examples of key findings and testimonies:

— 83% of retail workers surveyed make less than minimum wage

— 95% of respondents have no health insurance

— Two-thirds of domestic workers surveyed were not allowed to take breaks

 “Sometimes they blackmail us because we do not have papers, saying ‘If you do something I will call immigration.’” – Retail Worker, Jackson Heights

‣ ‘We Respect Jackson Heights Workers’ Campaign

Immigrant workers, community members, and policy makers are joining to organize for improved wages and labor standards for retail shop and restaurant workers in the Jackson Heights business district, particularly with South Asian businesses in the 72nd -75th street areas near Roosevelt Avenue.  The campaign involves community wide petitioning with Jackson Heights residents, meetings among stakeholders and local elected officials, and collaboration with the New York State Department of Labor’s Wage Watch program.

‣ Wage Theft Recovery

In partnership with the Urban Justice Center’s Community Development Project (link to, DRUM holds monthly Workers Rights clinics serving hundreds of workers each year by filing unpaid back wage claims, advocating with employers, and conducting Workers Know Your Rights trainings.



Little to no South Asian language services exisits for most public services.

There exists a large gap in direct pro-bono or low-cost immigration legal services for South Asian language speakers in NYC.

The South Asian Workers Center builds the leadership of and organizes low-wage workers in service industries, particularly immigrant women retail workers. The center runs weekly classes and clinics to win unpaid wages, workers rights, and better working conditions.

Of the one million undocumented immigrants in New York City, South Asians and Asians make up the second highest group at 22%, just after Latinos who make up 27%. Thousands of low-wage migrant workers across the city receive below minimum wage, work 12-14 hours a day, often are not given back wages, and are easily exploited due to their immigration status.