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Manhattan senior center, federal officials reach agreement on discrimination case

A Manhattan senior center that federal officials said discriminated against immigrants by requiring permanent resident card holders to present new cards during the employment eligibility reverification process has reached an agreement with the authorities, officials said.

Justice Department officials said Isabella Geriatric Center, located in Washington Heights, required the workers at the facility to present a new permanent resident card when their old cards expired, a practice that is not required by law. Officials said lawful permanent residents have permanent work authorization and are not required to prove their status again by presenting a current card.

Officials said the facility engaged in a "pattern or practice of citizenship discrimination," an apparent violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

"The INA protects authorized workers from discrimination in the employment eligibility verification and reverification processes," said Molly Moran, acting assistant attorney general for the civil rights division, in a news release Tuesday. "The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that employers follow the law and that they do not impose discriminatory obstacles that prevent work-authorized individuals from working."

Representatives of Isabella Geriatric Center could not be reached for comment.

The agreement requires the facility to pay $14,500 in civil penalties, undergo training on anti-discrimination provisions of the federal law, create a fund to compensate victims, revise its reverification policies and submit to oversight of its employment eligibility verification practices for two years.

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