Tag Archives: Dream Act

Mayor de Blasio endorses state Sen. Avella in re-election bid


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday his support for state Sen. Tony Avella in the District 11 race against former City Comptroller John Liu.

“Throughout this past session, Sen. Jeff Klein and Sen. Tony Avella worked tirelessly on behalf of the residents of New York City and helped make progress on issues that had been stalled for far too long,” de Blasio said.

De Blasio added that he looks forward to working with Avella to achieve progressive goals such as increasing minimum wage, expanding affordable housing and passing the DREAM Act.

“Mayor de Blasio has been at the forefront of the fight for progressive Democratic values, and it is my honor to receive his endorsement,” Avella said. “I look forward to working together towards making New York the city that we all deserve.”

Avella also picked up backing from the Communications Workers of America, District 1 in an announcement on July 3.

Not to be outdone, Liu received numerous endorsements from labor organizations in recent weeks as well as Democratic leaders, including Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

 

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Tuesday: Cloudy. High around 40. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph. Tuesday night: Periods of light snow. Low 31. Winds NNE at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of snow 50%. Snow accumulations less than one inch.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Jim Campbell: Rhythms of Perception

The San-Francisco-based artist Jim Campbell, best known for his evocative low resolution works, is the subject of a major solo exhibition at the Museum of the Moving Image, spanning his 30-year career and featuring over 20 installations. The works range from early experimental film, interactive works, and low-resolution videos to large-scale sculptural installations. An innovator in the use of technology, Campbell integrates and manipulates computers and custom electronics into visually arresting artworks. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Homeless man found dead on tracks of Queens subway station

A homeless man was found dead on the tracks of a Queens subway station early Tuesday, police said. Read more: New York Daily News

Cuomo, lawmakers negotiate on pre-k, property tax relief for state budget

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders negotiated over property tax relief, charter schools and prekindergarten funding Monday – with a budget deadline looming in a week. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Unsanctioned subway buskers, vendors feel NYPD’s wrath

The NYPD is putting the heat on churro sellers, subway acrobats, and other underground peddlers and panhandlers. Read more: New York Post

Majority of New York voters oppose having DREAM Act in state budget: poll

A new Siena College poll is a nightmare for DREAM Act supporters. Read more: New York Daily News 

9/11 Memorial Museum to open in May

The long-awaited museum dedicated to the victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks will open to the public at the World Trade Center site on May 21, officials announced Monday. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Queens pols: DREAM Act is not dead


| lguerre@queenscourier.com


Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

Maybe it was just a fantasy, but Queens politicians that support New York’s DREAM Act aren’t giving up the fight to make it a reality.

After receiving support from the State Assembly and Governor Andrew Cuomo, on Monday, the State Senate failed to pass the DREAM Act, which would have allocated $25 million in state funding for tuition assistance for undocumented immigrants attending college.

The legislation received just 30 of the necessary 32 votes to pass. Two Democratic senators opposed the measure, along with all Republican members.

Every Queens senator voted in favor of the measure, and now they are hoping to convince Cuomo to add the DREAM Act to the state budget, which is due April 1.

“It’s unfortunate that it didn’t pass. There are people in the state who don’t agree with it. That’s democracy,” said State Senator Tony Avella, who co-sponsored the measure. “There is no question that it’s disappointing, but we won’t give up the fight.”

Cuomo himself voiced disappointment that the Senate failed to pass the bill after the vote, and the same day he released a statement, vowing to fight for it– though it’s not clear if he will put it in the state budget.

“I will continue to work with supporters, stakeholders and members of the legislature to achieve this dream and build the support to pass this legislation and preserve New York’s legacy as a progressive leader,” Cuomo said.

If the DREAM Act had passed the final hurdle in the Senate vote, it would put New York among states such as California, New Mexico, Washington, and even Texas, which is known as a Republican state.

“I think it’s an embarrassment for New York State,” State Senator Malcolm Smith said. “We have always been a progressive state, especially for immigrants. We need to make it happen. I am optimistic that the bill could come up again before we end session in June. I will push for it to come up again.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Tuesday: Sunny. High 42. Winds ENE at 10 to 20 mph. Tuesday night: Clear skies. Low 31. Winds ENE at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Elton John’s The Million Dollar Piano

Showcase Cinemas is excited to bring Sir Elton John to select theaters for “The Million Dollar Piano.” Captured live from his residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, “The Million Dollar Piano” features all of Elton’s greatest hits from throughout his legendary career PLUS an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the making of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Starts at 7 p.m. at College Point Multiplex Cinemas. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Dream Act fails in New York Senate 

In a controversial vote, the New York Senate rejected a bill Monday that would have opened state tuition aid to students living in the United States illegally, dashing long-held hopes of immigration advocates. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Fatal NYC bus crashes skyrocket

Fatal city bus crashes have recently soared, according to new data. Read more: New York Post

City Council proposal would give unpaid interns right to sue for sexual harassment, discrimination

A measure under consideration by the New York City Council would give unpaid interns some of the same rights as paid workers. Read more: CBS New York

De Blasio plans to sign paid-sick leave bill this week

Mayor de Blasio said Monday he won’t delay a bill forcing businesses with as few as five workers to provide five paid-sick days a year to their employees. Read more: New York Post

GM recalls1.18 million SUVs for air bag issue

General Motors issued a new recall of 1.5 million vehicles Monday, part of an effort to assure buyers that it’s moving faster to fix safety defects in its cars and trucks. Read more: AP

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Light snow this morning giving way to partly cloudy conditions this afternoon. High near 30. Winds WNW at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of snow 50%. Snow accumulations less than one inch. Wednesday night: Clear skies. Low around 15. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Mid-Winter Taste for City Harvest

This food tasting event at  Resorts World Casino showcases over 30 food purveyors, and all proceeds will benefit City Harvest. Entry at 7 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

NY Assembly passes Dream Act providing tuition aid

New York’s Assembly passed a bill Tuesday that would open state tuition assistance programs to students in the country illegally, and now the measure moves to an uncertain future in the Senate. Read more: AP

NYC Council follows mayor’s Lead, steps away from St. Patrick’s Parade

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said the council won’t have an official presence at this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade because of rules that prevent gay and lesbian groups from identifying themselves while marching. Read more: CBS New York/AP

New Yorkers favor letting cities boost local minimum wage

A new statewide poll shows a large majority of New Yorkers support giving municipalities authority to raise the minimum wage locally, something Gov. Cuomo opposes. Read more: New York Post

NY Assembly contracts for $210K outside counsel on sexual harassment policy

The state Assembly has entered into two contracts worth $210,000 for an outside counsel to handle sexual harassment policy development and investigations after a high-profile scandal. Read more: NBC New York

Snow likely every day for the next 3 days, then again on the weekend

Snow is likely to fall every day for the next three days as arctic air settles over the tri-state region, where it will stick around through the weekend. Read more: NBC New York

 

Call to reinstate Peter F. Vallone Scholarship


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com


With no agreement on a state Dream Act, Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. is calling to re-establish the Peter F. Vallone Scholarship, the “original” New York City Dream Act.

On Thursday, April 25 Vallone gathered with mayoral candidates, fellow councilmembers and education and immigration advocacy groups to call on Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to reinstate the scholarship.

The Vallone Scholarship, instituted by the City Council in 1997, was awarded to students based only on academic performance and was made available to full-time students who enrolled in a City University of New York (CUNY) college within a year of graduating from a city high school. This scholarship was available to all students, regardless of their immigration status.

“The Vallone Scholarship was New York City’s Dream Act, it was a reality here when the state and federal acts were just dreams,” said Vallone.

Vallone has been fighting to reinstate the scholarship ever since its removal in 2012.

“It was a promise we made to our hardest working kids, that we would help them achieve their dreams of a college education, and it was a promise that was broken,” said Vallone.

According to Vallone, there were close to 15,000 students receiving assistance when the scholarship was eliminated.

 

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Woodside mother and daughter granted stay


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

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Nadia Habib has been granted the greatest birthday gift of all – the gift of time.

The 20-year-old Woodside resident and her mother, Nazmin, were facing deportation to Bangladesh on September 29, one day before Nadia’s birthday, but the pair was granted a last-minute reprieve, allowing them to remain in the country – for now.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) temporarily prevented the deportation after meeting with the family for over an hour. The mother and daughter were placed under an order of supervision, which meant they were forced to surrender their passports, were not allowed leave the state and had to regularly report to ICE until a final decision was made.

“I wanted to stay strong for my family.” said Nadia, who has described this year as the hardest of her life. “I knew I couldn’t break down. It’s scary, because I can’t get my driver’s license and I can’t work. I’m stuck in a bubble. All I can do is focus on school, so if they take that away from me I don’t know what I would do.”

Dozens gathered outside the meeting during a rally organized by the New York State Youth Leadership Council, an undocumented youth-led organization that works on improving access to education and creating equal opportunities for immigrant youth. The group has come to the aid of Nadia and Nazmin by collecting over 6,000 signed petitions and providing the family with an attorney at no cost.

One day after the reprieve, on Nadia’s 20th birthday, the Habib family finally received news they could celebrate. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Field Director Christopher Shannan granted Nadia and Nazmin a stay of removal, allowing them to remain in the country for 12 months and cancelling the order of supervision.

“There is a huge sense of relief that I am able to stay for now,” Nadia said. “This is the biggest present I could have gotten – to be able to continue living my life the way I have been living it.”

Despite the positive development, the Habib’s attorney, Aygul Charles, warns that the battle against deportation is far from complete.

“The stay of removal is not a permanent relief and there still remain many hurdles to overcome before they can say they are permanent U.S. residents,” said Charles. “There is still a big chance that Nadia and her mother will be deemed deportable after the expiration of the stay of removal. Also, the stay of removal can be lifted by ICE at any moment.”

Nadia, who is majoring in psychology at Stony Brook University, arrived in America with her mother when she was just 20 months old, making New York the only home she has ever known. Deportation would tear her away from her father, who holds a Green Card, and three younger siblings, all born in the U.S.

“I was too scared about my daughter and my wife,” said Jawad Habib, Nadia’s father. “I cannot explain how scared I was on September 29. I have never broken a law here and have always paid my taxes. My daughter should be allowed to be here and study here. Her life here is bright. We don’t have anything in Bangladesh. If they are sent to Bangladesh, my life will break down.”

Nadia and her mother entered the country with a three-month tourist visa and applied for political asylum once the visa expired. On the day of their asylum hearing, Nazmin became severely ill and was taken to the emergency room. According to Nadia, their lawyer was supposed to attend the hearing in their stead, but did not. Nazmin’s doctor sent an explanatory letter to the court, but due to a clerical error regarding the doctor’s medical license number, the judge was unable to verify the letter’s authenticity and denied asylum.

In the decade since their hearing, the Habib family has awaited the fateful letter that spelled the end to their American Dream. On September 16, the notification arrived, informing Nadia and her mother that they had to report to 26 Federal Plaza to be deported on September 29 with no more than one suitcase each to hold their possessions – 50 pounds of space to pack a life in. If the pair is ultimately deported to Bangladesh, they will face a similar situation one year from now.

President Barack Obama took a step towards easing the minds of all undocumented residents on August 18, when the White House announced a policy shift that will focus federal resources on deporting convicted criminals and those who pose a threat to public or national safety. The change spares undocumented students and other law-abiding immigrants facing deportation by allowing them to apply for work permits.

Nadia hopes for a day when the Dream Act will pass, and undocumented residents will no longer live in fear and be subjected to discrimination. She also urges immigrants to unite and make their voices heard.

“You don’t know what to do when you are undocumented,” she said. “You are treated like you are not human; like you are an animal who is not supposed to be here. The government should see every case as a person; a human being with a life and a family. There is no such thing as illegal. We are all human. Everyone who qualifies for the Dream Act should speak up. I feel like the more out there you are, the safer you are. I want everyone who is undocumented to stay strong and keep their hopes up.”