2015-05-13 / Political Page

Crowley, Meng: ‘Grant Temporary Protected Status To Nepalis In US’

In the wake of Nepal’s devastating earthquake, Congressmember Joseph Crowley and Grace Meng are leading an effort to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Nepali nationals currently residing in the United States so they are not forced to return home to harmful and unsafe conditions.

Crowley (D–Queens/Bronx) and Meng (D–Flushing), who are also cosponsors of legislation to grant TPS to Nepali nationals, have written letters to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry to express their concern on behalf of Nepali nationals here in the United States.

Among those who co-signed the letter to the administration officials were Congressmember Carolyn Maloney (Queens/Manhattan), Jerrold Nadler (Manhattan), and Steve Israel (Northern Queens/L.I.). At the outset, the letter states: “We are all horrified by the massive earthquake that has left thousands dead and many more injured in Nepal and throughout the region. Nepali people living in the United States should not be forced to return in the midst of devastation, and we urge you to extend Temporary Protected Status to this community.”

The letter explains, “TPS has often been granted in similar circumstances after severe natural disasters abroad. Allowing Nepali nationals that are here in the United States to remain here temporarily is the safe, reasonable and compassionate thing to do, and we hope you will act swiftly to provide this reassurance to the Nepali people in a time of great distress.”

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Department of Homeland Security has the authority to designate a foreign country for TPS, which allows those temporarily in the United States to stay for a longer period of time if they are unable to safely return to their country, Crowley and Meng explained.

Crowley, Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus in the House of Representatives, stated: “As the people of Nepal continue to mourn the lives lost and struggle to recover from this terrible tragedy, our nation must continue its tradition of humanitarian support by granting TPS to Nepalis currently in our country.

Crowley, whose district includes a growing Nepali population, continued, “This will allow those residing in Queens and in communities across the country to remain here until the Nepali government is better suited to handle their return. This will allow the government, public safety officials and rescue forces to focus on their critical work. In the aftermath of a catastrophe of this magnitude, we need to step forward and do all we can to help Nepal and its people get back on their feet.”

Meng said, “The tragedy in Nepal is heartbreaking and everybody impacted by this terrible disaster remains in our thoughts and prayers. Although the country is working to recover, it is obviously not safe for Nepalese citizens in the United States to return home. That’s why we must not force them to go back to the dangerous and disastrous conditions in their country until it is safe to do so. I urge Secretary Johnson and Secretary Kerry to grant Temporary Protected Status as quickly as possible.”

Luna Ranjit, Executive Director of Adhikaar, a local non-profit organization that works with New York’s Nepali community, explained, “Due to the continuing aftershocks, many remaining buildings have collapsed or become uninhabitable. Many, many families, including my own, are unable to go back to their homes and are living in tents or cars in spite of the heavy rains. The Nepali community in the United States has come together to help our country to the best of our ability. TPS would allow us to focus our energy on the muchneeded relief and recovery efforts.”

SKELOS GONE, REPORT FLANAGAN SUCCEEDS HIM: After a week of demands that Republican State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos resign his powerful post, Skelos gave in to the pressure Monday morning – but reportedly not until he was able to name his successor – fellow Long Island lawmaker John Flanagan, 54, as the new Majority Leader.

Skelos, 67, the GOP Senate leader for the past four years, had been resisting demands to resign for about a week since he was charged (along with his son Adam, 32) with extortion, soliciting bribes and conspiracy by Manhattan Federal Attorney Preet Bharara.

But besides wanting him out of the way because he had those serious charges hanging over him, the Republican faction has some serious issues to deal with in the next month before the current session ends and they couldn’t do that with Skelos still hanging around. Among other things, legislators have to deal with raising the minimum wage, renewal of rent regulations, and mayoral control of schools.

Skelos was negotiating the deal to have Flanagan, from East Northport in Suffolk County, to succeed him because he still hopes to have a law practice on Long Island when he clears those charges hanging over him and he gets back to his life and work on Long Island. Flanagan has been in the Senate for 12 years.

Flanagan, who’s been part of the GOP hierarchy in the Senate for several years, chairs the important Education Committee and is highly respected by his GOP colleagues, who are fighting to have one Long Island lawmaker succeed another

(Skelos) as he bows out.

Flanagan’s major opposition was Senator John DeFrancisco, 68, of Syracuse, the Finance Committee Chair. Also mentioned had been Senator Catharine Young, 54, of Cattaraugus County, Chair of the Republican Campaign Committee.

CROWLEY HAILS ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH: Congressman Crowley issued the following statement in recognition of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, which is celebrated annually during the month of May.

“Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is a time for each and every one of us to pay tribute to the many remarkable contributions Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to New York and our entire country. Whether it is through the sciences, arts, business, or government, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have helped shape every facet of American society. I am proud to join my fellow Americans in honoring the AAPI community, and I will continue to make the realization of equal rights for Asian- Americans a key part of my work in Congress.”

WHITESTONE RESIDENT APPOINTED A STATE COURT OF CLAIMS JUDGE: Longtime Judge Margaret Parisi-McGowan, of Whitestone, who has served as a judge in both the city Housing Court and state Family Court over the past 17 years, has been appointed by the State Senate on May 5 as a state Court of Claims Judge.

Judge Parisi-McGowan was among 14 nominees named by Governor Cuomo that came before the State Senate on that day, which was required to give its consent, as required by law, to confirm their appointments, which it did. before the Senate’s vote, state Senator Tony Avella (D–Northeast Queens) had seconded the nomination of Parisi-McGowan, one of Avella’s constituents.

Avella stated “Judge Parisi-McGowan boasts an impressive resume that includes nearly three decades of legal experience, much of which was gained in Queens. She has held positions throughout her career that will, without a doubt, help her succeed as a New York State Court of Claims judge.”

Continuing, Avella said, “It is obvious that she is more than qualified for this position, and I am confident that she will continue to make the people of Queens and New York City as a whole, proud of her work. I am thrilled to support her nomination and I congratulate Judge Parisi- McGowan on her new position.”

Based on information provided by Avella, Judge Parisi-McGowan has been a long-time resident of Queens with nearly 30 years of legal experience working as both an attorney and a judge.

A graduate of Queens College, she obtained both her bachelor’s degree there in political science, with a minor in secondary education, and her Juris Doctor degree.

Both before and after she became a judge she had strong ties to Queens throughout her career, working for decades to represent the interests of working-class families across the borough. Since becoming an attorney, Judge Parisi-McGowan spent much of her career working on civil issues, including children’s rights, landlord-tenant issues and small claims disputes.

She became a judge in 1998 when she was appointed to the Housing Court of the New York City Civil Court in Jamaica, where she spent more than eight years presiding over proceedings regarding the establishment and maintenance of housing standards.

Judge Parisi-McGowan also served as a family court judge for New York State from 2006 until her term ended this year.

In her new position as a state Court of Claims judge, she will preside over cases brought by individuals seeking damages from the state or staterelated entities.

According to the Red Book, the Official Reference for State Government, The State Court of Claims is composed of 22 judges appointed by the Governor by and with the advice and consent of the State Senate, for a term of nine years at an annual salary of $136,700. The Governor designates the presiding judge. The Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine claims against the State or by the State against claimants or between conflicting claimants.

NOLAN BACKS/ADDED SEATS FOR PS/IS 78: Assemblymember Catherine Nolan (D–Ridgewood) issued the following statement last week:

“The Department of Education’s announcement to add seats for the students at PS/IS 78 this upcoming school year is a step in the right direction. However, as our community continues to grow, a long-term solution is needed. We need to provide enough seats for all of our students in their community. I am against the policy of truncation and will continue to advocate to keep PS/IS 78 as a K-8 school. I will continue to raise this issue with both the NYC Mayor’s Office and the Department of Education, pushing for an additional school in the Hunters Point community.

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