Queens Lawmakers On The Move Oct. 11, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Katz Blasts Homeland Security’s Proposed Changes To Immigrant Use Of Social Services

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (D), yesterday blasted the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) proposed rule change that would render immigrants who receive certain forms of public assistance (i.e. Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP and Section 8 vouchers) potentially ineligible for U.S. permanent residency (Green Card).

“Let’s call this misguided, anti-immigrant proposal for what it is: an income test for pursuit of the American Dream. Forcing people to make a choice between food on the table or a roof over their heads or access to health coverage – and a Green Card? It is a vicious, immoral proposal to force such an impossible choice upon any family, and it is un-American,” said Katz, noting immigrants make up nearly half of its 2.3 million residents of Queens and is the most diverse county in the country.

“This would potentially compel hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers either deeper into the shadows or deeper into poverty, which in turn jeopardizes the health, safety and well-being of all New Yorkers. And let’s not forget the 68,000 Queens children who come from mixed-status families where a U.S. citizen is entitled to these benefits, and where the family could face separation resulting from such an impossible choice,” she added.

In September 2018, DHS announced it would significantly broaden the criteria it could use to label an immigrant applying for legal residency as a “public charge.” The rule change was published in the Federal Register earlier yesterday, kicking off a 60-day public comment period.

Katz strongly encourages members of the public to submit comment through the national Protecting Immigrant Families campaign at www.protectingimmigrantfamilies.org.

Nolan Takes De Blasio To Task On Homeless Shelter Placements

Assembly Woman Catherine  Nolan

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Sunnyside, Ridgewood, Astoria, Woodside, Long Island City, Maspeth, Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Dutch Kills, Blissville) yesterday expressed great concern on rumors reaching her that Mayor Bill de Blasio is looking to place yet another homeless shelter in Maspeth on 57th Street.

“I joined our community in opposing other locations, such as the Holiday Inn, the Verve, the Fairfield Inn, among others, and I will strongly oppose this as well,” said Nolan. “Residential and industrial neighborhoods in western Queens are not appropriate locations. In western Queens alone, in addition to the longstanding Borden Avenue Shelter, we have hundreds of beds in shelters in Dutch Kills, Blissville, Sunnyside and Long Island City. We are oversaturated.”

Nolan said de Blasio continues to place vulnerable people and families in substandard, inappropriate and poorly run facilities.

“People are making a great deal of money off of the backs of the city’s homeless. These proposals deserve scrutiny and oversight, not some backroom deals that exclude community input. I would urge my colleagues in government to join me in an honest and open dialogue, and hope they would oppose secret proposals that pit neighborhoods against each other,” she added.

Avella Calls DOE Chancellor Carranza Out for Trying to Destroy Specialized High School Admissions Test

Sen. Tony Avella

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside, Whitestone, Little Neck, Oakland Gardens, Fresh Meadows, Floral Park, Bellerose, Glen Oaks, College Point, parts of Jamaica/ Hollis) yesterday called City Education Chancellor Richard Carranza’s efforts to continue destroying the SHSAT “disgraceful”.

Carranza stated this week that the city could “probably” break up the eight specialized high schools by using different eligibility criteria for the original 3 specialized high schools, including Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech, and something different for the more recently created additional 5 specialized high schools.

Carranza’s spokesman also stated that the Chancellor  “continues to believe that we need to eliminate the SHSAT for all eight specialized high schools.”

“Chancellor Carranza’s relentless efforts to destroy the SHSAT are disgraceful.  We must not pit one ethnic group against another but instead lift up all students to improve education.  That is why I have introduced legislation to expand the gifted and talented program so that each grade in every elementary and secondary school has a class dedicated for top performing students” said Avella.

Avella has also called on the governor to include $10 million for test preparation funding in next year’s state budget.

Weprin Gets Busy Around the City

Assembly Member David Weprin

Assemblyman David I. Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows, Richmond Hill) has three events today in a busy and packed day, starting at 9 a.m. where he will kick off a voter registration drive at Yeshiva University, Belfer Hall Room 1017, 2495 Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan.

Weprin will then join City Council Member Barry S. Grodenchik (D-Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens, Queens Village) at 3 p.m. to announce the allocation of $75,000 to Engine 251 of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) for facilities upgrades at FDNY Engine 251, 254-20 Union Turnpike in Glen Oaks.

Weprin will end his day at 8 p.m., addressing the South Asian NextGen Conference, 72-11 Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights.