Photo Courtesy of the Office of the Borough President
Queens Center Mall hosted the 2018 Immigration Resource Fair on Thursday.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and her Immigration Task Force last week hosted the inaugural “Know Your Rights Week,” a series of five free informational workshops and confidential legal clinics for immigrants in Elmhurst, Flushing, Jackson Heights, Jamaica and Sunnyside.
We are in deeply troubling times,” Katz said. “Our country’s increasingly dehumanizing immigration laws and procedures are tearing families apart, even in a Sanctuary City like New York. Broad raids and sweeps of immigration enforcement, even of those without a criminal record, have successfully spread fear and imposed a chilling effect on everyday activities and responsibilities. But we are a nation of immigrants, and Queens is about all of our families’ futures. In partnership with a host of organizations and colleagues in local government, we are pleased to hold the first – but certainly not the last – ‘Know Your Rights Week’ for immigrants, designed to connect our various communities to committed legal experts, advocates and other resources. Together, we will do everything possible to help counteract the hostility of the current political climate. Queens has your back.”
Katz called Thursday’s Immigration Resource Fair at Queens Center mall “the centerpiece event” of the series. The annual fair connects people with more than 30 organizations, including government agencies, legal resources, nonprofits and local businesses that serve the borough’s immigrant community. The event featured resource tables and a free and confidential legal clinic in which attorneys addressed issues related to immigration, housing and employment.
“My district is home to one of the largest and most diverse immigrant communities in the state. I am pleased that the borough president is making every effort to protect our immigrants from harassment, discrimination and violence,” said City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights). “I will continue to work alongside her to ensure that Queens remains a safe haven for all people.”
Other “Know Your Rights Week” events: Legal Aid Scoiety screenings at Queens Library Jackson Heights for individuals facing deportation proceedings; Queens Legal Services clinic on naturalization issues at the organization’s Jamaica office; MinKwon Center for Community Action clinic on issues related to the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in Flushing; and Catholic Migration Services one-on-one consultations at its office in Sunnyside for those in removal proceedings or who are seeking asylum.
MinKwon Executive Director John Park praised Katz’s efforts.
“With a federal political landscape hostile towards immigrants, it is more important than ever to provide accessible services and Know Your Rights education to New Yorkers,” he added.