2018-07-04 / Features

Fiscal Year 2019 Funding For Immigration Services

Council Member Costa Constantinides (c.) with staff from the Ansob Center, and Stephanie D. Delia of CUNY Citizenship Now! (second from r.). Council Member Costa Constantinides (c.) with staff from the Ansob Center, and Stephanie D. Delia of CUNY Citizenship Now! (second from r.). NYC Council Member Costa Constantinides outlined on July 2 ways in which the Fiscal Year 2019 budget provides vital services to immigrant communities in District 22.

Joined by advocates from the Ansob Center for Immigrants and Refugees as well as the CUNY Citizenship Now! program, the council member stressed how crucial these allocations are to making sure western Queens’ newest Americans can fulfill the promise of a better life in the United States.

“We are a nation of immigrants, but perhaps now more than ever we need to ensure these communities have all the support we can provide,” said Constantinides, who this year was appointed to the Budget Negotiating Team. “I was proud to play a larger role in the process this year, and want to thank Speaker Corey Johnson for that opportunity. Securing money for these groups was a top priority. Such funding in turn allows them to provide legal help, language training and prepare to become US citizens. With the federal government’s continued assault on all immigrants, it’s on New York City to show that America really stands for inclusion and the exchange of ideas.”

Ansob Center, which has helped thousands of foreign-born people seeking safe haven in the US, received $70,000 in the FY2019 budget that took effect earlier this month. This year, the City Council has increased its investment at Ansob, helping them provide English language and citizenship classes, job placement, and other crucial services.

CUNY Citizenship Now! saw an increase of $500,000 in the budget, which funds the city through June 2019. The citywide program, with funding now at more than $2.5 million, allows council members to provide free legal services to immigrants who want to become American citizens.

Scores of Queens residents have already been helped by this high-quality and confidential help, and Constantinides looks forward to those numbers only growing. If you personally need this service, please call his office at 718-274-4500.

“That people have a safe place to come is very important,” said Cathleen Joyce, Executive Director of Ansob Center. “We are appreciative of all the help and support.”

“During these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever for immigrants and their loved ones to have access to free expert level immigration advice and application assistance. Citizenship Now!’s knowledgeable attorneys are in a position to meet this need,” said Stephanie D. Delia, Managing Attorney, City Council Services at CUNY Citizenship Now!

“With more languages spoken here than anywhere else on Earth, Queens is truly the World’s Borough and Astoria is the World’s Neighborhood,” said Constantinides. “I want to thank Ansob Center and CUNY Citizenship Now! for their work in protecting our immigrant communities, making them know this city is their home, too.”

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