Pols, immigrants present second Immigration Resource Fair

By Madina Toure

Elected officials and city immigrant groups announced the second annual Immigration Resource Fair which will include a legal clinic and community-based organizations at a news conference at the Flushing Library Monday morning.

The Immigration Resource Fair, which will take place June 21 from 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Flushing Library at 41-17 Main St., will include a free on-site legal clinic, municipal ID sign-up and enrollment and direct, one-stop access to more than 35 community-based organizations and government agencies.

There will also be workshops addressing immigration fraud, navigating the education system, workforce rights and protections and immigrant entrepreneurship. Translation services will be available in Bengali, Chinese, Korean and Spanish.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, non-profit Immigrant Advancement Matters and the Queens Library are co-hosting this year’s fair.

State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing), Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing), City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs are co-sponsoring the fair.

“They’ve all been working very hard to get the word out,” Katz said.

Alexandra Ruiz, founder and executive director of Immigrant Advancement Matters and a Flushing resident, said the fair hits close to home as someone whose family emigrated from the Dominican Republic and once was an undocumented immigrant herself.

“I am proud to say that we lived the undocumented experience and that experience has shaped every aspect of my life,” Ruiz said.

The fair aims to connect people with non-profits, government agencies, legal resources and local businesses that serve the immigrant community in Queens and throughout the city.

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), the fair’s honorary co-host, stressed the urgency of passing comprehensive immigration reform, noting that families become separated while waiting for immigration applications to be cleared.

“We still have a lot of work to do in Washington, D.C.,” Meng said.

Koo said the fair would expose immigrants to a wide range of resources in one place.

“New York City has so many resources for new immigrants, but the problem is that they don’t know about it,” he said.

Monica Sibri, founder and president of the CUNY DREAMers, a university-wide student-led organization that represents the needs of undocumented students, said the organization started a health awareness campaign and will participate in the fair.

“Our own members were not getting any health coverage,” Sibri said.

Partners in Progress, Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York and Asian Americans for Equality were also present at the news conference.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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