Queens Lawmakers on the Move Dec. 7, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Meng Urges Trump to Not Undermine Coronavirus Vaccination Program

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park), on Saturday, called for changes to the Trump Administration’s COVID-19 vaccination plan that would force states to sign an agreement in which the personal identification information of vaccine recipients would be shared with the federal government.

In a letter Meng led to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield, the congresswoman called for the agreement to not require the collection of personal identifiable information, such as Social Security, passport, and driver license numbers from those who receive the vaccine, and that it prohibit any individual identification data from being shared with non-health federal agencies. Under the current Data Use Agreement, HHS can share the personal information with other federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, which could use the data to target undocumented immigrants.

“All people, including immigrants, deserve to access the COVID-19 vaccine without fear or reservation of having their personal identification information shared with non-health-related federal agencies,” said Meng. “Sharing this data will instill fear in our immigrant communities, and deter immigrants from being vaccinated. Providing the vaccine must be free of politics, and we urge that revisions be made so that it is not mandatory for states to collect and share vaccinated individuals’ personal identifiable information with the federal government. I await a response to our letter.”

The correspondence, which was signed by a total of 48 Members of Congress, can be viewed here.

Addabbo Sets Up Drop of Location for Food, Clothing Drive at Office

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.’s (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside and The Rockaways) Howard Beach and Middle Village offices will be drop off locations for a food pantry and winter coat drive in conjunction with P.S. 229 in order to help families in need this holiday season, 

From now until Monday, December 14, Addabbo’s offices will be collecting gently used winter coats, gloves, scarfs boots, any non-perishable food items. On December 14, all the items donated will be brought to P.S. 229 in Woodside to be distributed to local families in need.

“During the holiday season it is important to remember those in our communities that are struggling — especially this year as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to lose their jobs and more,” Addabbo said. 

Addabbo’s Howard Beach office is located at 159-53 102nd Street, and his Middle Village office is located at 66-85 73rd Place. The hours of operation for both offices are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Contact Addabbo’s office at 718-738-1111 with any questions.

Sanders Discusses Kamala on Next Podcast Episode

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens, Edgemere, Bayswater, Arverne and Far Rockaway) will be discussing what the election of Kamala Harris as Vice President means for the future of the country on the next episode of his podcast, “Let’s Be Clear!”

The episode will feature women who are pioneers in their own right, who will share how the glass ceiling was shattered by Harris and what to expect over the next four years. The guests will discuss how Harris demonstrates the power of black women and women of color. This is a power that they have had all along but is now being fully realized, 100 years after women gained the right to vote.

This week’s featured guests will be: State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers), Mayoral Candidate Maya D. Wiley, Esq., and Assembly Member-Elect Jenifer Rajkumar (D-Woodhaven, Ridgewood, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Glendale). 

The episode is set to premiere on December 10 at 6 p.m. and can be viewed at this link.

“Let’s Be Clear! with Senator Sanders!” is a new podcast series that launched last week. Each episode will cover a new and exciting topic related to a top issue of the day, important legislation, and much more. Experts in their respective fields will be featured to ensure a lively and dynamic conversation that covers all sides of the represented subject matter. The episodes will be broadcast on Sanders’ YouTube channel every Thursday at 6 p.m.

AG James Scores Victory for Dreamers

State Attorney General Letitia James

New York Attorney General Letitia James scored another victory on Friday for hundreds of thousands of Dreamers across the nation who are eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and who were at risk of deportation by the Trump Administration. 

A federal court issued a remedial order granting James’ request for partial summary judgment, ordering the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to reopen the DACA program to first-time applicants, restore protections to a two-year period instead of one year, and make Advanced Parole available to DACA recipients again without restrictions.

“Justice prevailed today — not just for Dreamers, but for all Americans,” said James. “Every time the outgoing administration tried to use young immigrants as political scapegoats, they defiled the values of our nation. The court’s order makes clear that fairness, inclusion, and compassion matter. America is where these young people have gone to school, where they have worked, where they have paid taxes, where they have raised families, and where they have continued to be vital members of our communities. We are proud to fight for them and grateful to deliver them the justice they are due.”

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that the Trump Administration’s attempts to cancel DACA were unlawful, the program was supposed to resume. Instead, DHS announced that new DACA applications would not be granted and that the purported acting secretary of homeland security, Chad Wolf, had made other interim changes to DACA through a memorandum issued on July 28, while Wolf considered whether to fully rescind DACA. In August, James co-led a coalition of 17 attorneys general in two filings against President Donald Trump, the DHS, Wolf, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, asking the court to vacate the Wolf memo as unlawful. In November, a federal district court issued an order granting James’ request for partial summary judgment, ruling that Wolf was not lawfully serving as acting secretary of homeland security at the time.

On Friday, the court granted the coalition’s request for remedy, vacating the Wolf memo and reinstating the terms governing the DACA program to those in place prior to the attempted rescission in September 2017. Furthermore, the court ordered that DHS accept first-time requests for deferred action under DACA within three days, as well as extend one-year deferred action and employment authorizations to two-years.