Queens College opens office to help immigrants with visa and citizenship applications

(Left to right) Jay Hershenson, Queens College’s vice president for Communications and Marketing and senior advisor to the president; Kathryn Zapata, director of education, Office of the Queens Borough President; Queens College President Frank H. Wu; Jennifer Jarvis, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Queens College; Ethan Jenkins, program coordinator, the Queens College Immigrant Student Support Initiative; Monique Francis, interim director, CUNY Citizenship Now!; Queens College alumna Carla Córdova; and Soojin Choi Lee, education policy director, NYS Senator John Liu’s office.
Photo courtesy of Andy Poon

Queens College officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Apr. 16 to celebrate the grand opening of its newest CUNY Citizenship Now! office, which has opened in the Student Union building on the Flushing-based campus. The office, like the dozens of others in the CUNY system, aims to help immigrants with visa applications as well as to obtain citizenship.

Queens College President Frank H. Wu and Jay Hershenson, Queens College’s vice president for Communications and Marketing and Co-founder of CUNY Citizenship Now!, were on hand to open the office. They were joined by guest speakers such as Carla Córdova, a Queens College alumna and CUNY Citizenship Now! service recipient. 

The new office provides one-on-one counseling via online pre-booked appointments. Specific services include assistance with naturalization, family-based petitions and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Members of the Queens College community will also have priority access to immigration attorneys twice a week. Since 2023, the CUNY Citizenship Now! program has partnered with the Queens College Immigrant Student Support Initiative. The initiative assists students of varying immigration statuses with undergraduate and graduate applications, FAFSA navigation, and other services. 

Wu spoke during the ceremony, touching upon how his upbringing as the son of Taiwanese immigrants gave him a deep connection to the CUNY Citizenship Now! Program.

“Programs such as this did not exist when I went to college, and today’s event speaks to the progress we have made. As I’m sure you know, the Borough of Queens is nicknamed the “World’s Borough,” a place where over 120 nationalities call home, and our student population reflects that wonderful diversity. So it’s only fitting that we should have an office on campus for CUNY Citizenship Now, an organization dedicated to helping immigrants, “he said. 

Founded in 1997, Citizenship Now! is America’s largest legal assistance program. It provides free and confidential citizenship and local immigration services to local communities. The attorneys and paralegals who work with the program support thousands of individuals annually as they pursue citizenship.