“We are a nation of immigrants, built on the backs of immigrants’ labor, and Queens is about all of our families’ futures ,” Borough President Katz said.
By Forum Staff
Beginning this Friday, Sept. 29, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs will hold monthly office hours inside Borough Hall to provide residents with easier access to information and services offered by the agency, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz announced on Tuesday.
Katz also noted that Queens is the first borough to hold MOIA office hours, and begins less than a week before the upcoming Oct. 5 deadline for enrollment renewals in the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Beginning Sept. 29, and for the last Friday of every month thereafter, representatives from MOIA’s Queens Neighborhood Outreach Team will be stationed in a Borough Hall office. World’s Borough residents will be able to meet one-on-one with MOIA representatives between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on those days, and confidentially discuss their immigration-related issues, including possible enforcement actions and the planned termination of DACA, a federal initiative that has protected 800,000 undocumented immigrants nationwide who were brought to the United States as children. According to the Migration Policy Institute, 28,000 DACA-eligible individuals reside in Queens; 22,000 in Brooklyn; 13,000 in the Bronx; and 7,000 in Manhattan.
“Nearly half of our borough’s 2.3 million people were born abroad, and their many contributions to our community are a source of strength and a vital part of the Queens identity,” Katz said. “More immigrants and more DACA-eligible immigrants call Queens home than any other borough, and in this increasingly uncertain climate, we want immigrant families to know that New York has their backs. We are a nation of immigrants, built on the backs of immigrants’ labor, and Queens is about all of our families’ futures. With the aim of making every resource available to them, Mayor de Blasio, Acting Commissioner [Bitta] Mostofi and I are extending MOIA to Queens Borough Hall, a partnership that has become all the more necessary in light of the impending termination of the DACA program.”
According to the borough president’s office, the MOIA representatives at Borough Hall will provide information on how to access the immigration legal services available through ActionNYC, a City initiative that offers free immigration legal help through a network of trusted community organizations and schools. The representatives will also offer information about other services and benefits, including resources offered by the non-profit immigrant service organizations that participate in Katz’s Immigration Task Force.
No appointments are necessary to meet with the MOIA representatives, and walk-ins are welcome. Appointments can be made by emailing Depak Borhara of the Queens Neighborhood Outreach Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. MOIA representatives will be available in Room 213 on the second floor of Borough Hall, located at 120-55 Queens Blvd.
Katz indicated that she decided to make space in Borough Hall available for MOIA office hours as a follow-up to the discussions that took place during the Immigration Roundtable held this July during Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “City Hall in Your Borough” week in Queens. Those discussions made clear the need to have a convenient location in Queens’ civic center where residents can go to find out about City services and programs, Katz recalled.