2017-02-01 / Political Page

Seek To Reopen Immigration Office In Queens

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO


Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has joined with Congress Member Gregory Meeks to seek the reopening of a citizenship and immigration office in the borough at the Addabbo Federal Building in Jamaica. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has joined with Congress Member Gregory Meeks to seek the reopening of a citizenship and immigration office in the borough at the Addabbo Federal Building in Jamaica. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) operated a field office in Long Island City from January 2012 to January 2015, but USCIS “temporarily” closed that office after a flood caused significant damage. The Queens Field Office was then relocated to 26 Federal Plaza in Lower Manhattan, where it remains.

The LIC office handled a very high number of inquiries, serving an average of 180 naturalization applications and 130 status adjustment applications per day, according to the Borough President’s office.

USCIS field offices typically handle non-asylum related applications, including citizenship and green card applications with a commitment to “provide services where our customers live.” Currently, the only operational field offices within USCIS District 3 are in Lower Manhattan and Holtsville, Long Island, a long distance for borough residents to travel.

“Queens is home to over 2.3 million residents, at least 48% of whom were born abroad,” said Borough President Katz in a January 24th press release. “Many people – both citizens and non-citizens – are feeling tremendous uncertainty about the future.”

On January 25th, President Donald Trump signed a number of executive orders that “began a sweeping crackdown on illegal immigration,” according to a January 26th New York Times report.

Under the executive orders “sanctuary cities” that do not arrest or detain undocumented immigrants may be deprived of federal funding solely on that basis. There are about 100 such cities in the US, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston.

“My office (the 5th Congressional District) has helped thousands of constituents with their immigration matters,” said Rep. Meeks in the same release. “Yet, never before have my constituents shown as much concern about their immigration status due to the incoming administration,” he said. “Hearing their well-founded concerns, Borough President Katz and I are pressing USCIS to reopen its field office to fulfill this clear need. We believe that families should be well-informed, and they deserve comprehensive assistance so they have the best opportunity to keep their families together and whole.”

Katz added, “I’ve long proposed the existing Addabbo Federal Building in Jamaica as an ideal permanent location for the long-displaced Queens field office. Its optimal location already hosts a federal agency (the US Social Security Administration), has vacant space, and has abundant access to mass transit. I urge USCIS to further consider Jamaica for a permanent Queens field office.”

The Joseph P. Addabbo Federal Building, a 932,000-square-foot 12-story structure, opened in 1989 at 155-10 Jamaica Avenue.

Return to top

Copyright 1999-2018 The Service Advertising Group, Inc. All rights reserved.