By Bill Parry
The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs will hold monthly office hours in Queens Borough Hall to provide residents with easier access to the information and services offered by the agency, Borough President Melinda Katz announced Tuesday.
Queens is the first borough to hold MOIA office hours, and it begins Friday, less than a week before the upcoming Oct. 5 deadline for enrollment renewals in the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
“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 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.”
Beginning Sept. 29 and for the last Friday of every month, representatives from MOIA’s Queens Neighborhood Outreach Team will be stationed in Borough Hall office space. Residents can 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 program that has protected 800,000 undocumented immigrants nationwide from deportation who were brought to the United States as children. According to the Migration Policy Institute, 28,000 DACA-eligible individuals live in Queens.
“Holding monthly office hours in Queens Borough Hall will allow MOIA to be even more accessible to Queens residents,” Acting MOIA Commissioner Bitta Mostofi said. “Immigration status should not be a barrier to accessing resources, and through our immigration legal services programs, IDNYC, access to Know Your Rights forums, among other resources, Mayor de Blasio’s administration is working every day to make New York City a more inclusive city for all.”
No appointments are necessary to meet with MOIA representatives and walk-ins are welcome. Appointments can be made by emailing Depak Borhara of the Queens Neighborhood Outreach Team at dborh
Borough Hall is adjacent to the Kew Gardens/Union Turnpike station on the E and F subway lines and is in close proximity to several bus routes.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr