Tag Archives: Stony Brook University

Star of Queens: Ted Teng, chair, Youth Services Committee of Community Board 11, state committeeman of 25th Assembly District


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Ted Teng

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Ted Teng is prone to say “in any way you can” when talking about giving back to the community.

Teng, who immigrated from Taiwan to New York City at age 2, has been the chair of the Youth Services Committee of Community Board 11 for the past three years and state committeeman of the 25th Assembly District since last September.

One of the CB 11 initiatives closest to Teng’s heart is the fight to keep the Beacon Program in Bayside alive. The program, which offers free after-school and summer school services to more than 700 students, is currently under threat of being shut down.

Teng’s favorite part of the job is advocacy for the community’s children and his “conversations with individuals who find themselves to be voiceless.”

“I love the fact that I can give a voice to these people,” he said.

BACKGROUND: A volunteer emergency medical technician, or EMT, for years since his college days at Stony Brook University, Teng has been known to pull over while driving to assist car accident victims. His experiences as an EMT first taught him the value of giving back.

“From there I learned the importance of helping the community in any way I can,” he said.

Outside of his volunteer work, Teng is the founder of Advanced Teaching Initiative, an after-school academic center that also runs weekend programs and summer camps.

FAVORITE MEMORY: Looking back on his most memorable moment working with the community board, Teng spoke of a letter by a Beacon Program participant. She wrote about what the program meant to her.

“The thing that spoke with me was the program’s not just about academics,” he said. “It’s social skills, arts and crafts. It really gives children a chance to learn new things.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE:  Teng said one of the biggest challenges facing the board is “getting the public to know the problems we have.” He said he hopes the future board will work on stronger outreach to “bring more voice and more press involvement.”

INSPIRATION: Teng said his two young children inspire him more than anything else.

“A lot of it is the ability to show them that especially in this area where I grew up, [it’s important to] go back to your roots and give back to it,” he said. “You do what you can. If you’re in the position to help, you should help. I was very fortunate. I was put in a very fortunate position to make a difference.”

-BY ROSA KIM

 

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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.”

Last-minute reprieve granted for mother and daughter


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

A mother and daughter facing deportation to Bangladesh were granted a last-minute reprieve earlier today, allowing the pair to remain in the country for at least one more day.

Nadia Habib, a 19-year-old Woodside resident and Stony Brook University student, was to be deported at 11:30 a.m. this morning with her mother, Nazmin, tearing her away from her father, who holds a green card, and three siblings, all born in the U.S.

According to published reports, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has temporarily prevented the deportation after meeting with the family for over an hour today, while hundreds rallied outside in support. ICE is currently considering the case, and the pair cannot leave the state until a decision is made.

Habib, who is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Biology and Art, arrived in America with her mother when she was just one-year-old, making New York the only home she has ever known.