February 2018

NY Immigration Coalition's Valentine's Day Social Media Campaign on 2/14!
   Tell us why you love NY immigrants by taking a picture of yourself holding a sign with the hashtags #lovefightsback & #toimmigrantswithlove or make a short video and post to social media. Tag @theNYIC for a possible feature!

QCH Youth Campaign for Future Jobs
On January 30, 13 participants from our Forest Hills Beacon program piled into a bus and set off to join United Neighborhood Houses and other organizations for the 18th Annual Youth Action Day in Albany. Youth from across the state united to campaign for the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP),  a statewide program that funds summer jobs for youth between the ages of 14 and 20.  Advocates are asking for a $4 million increase in the SYEP budget to make up for the rise in minimum wage.

Eleven-year-old Connie told Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi's representative, "We think giving jobs to kids will teach them responsibility, and what it's like to be in the real world." Her friend Catherine chimed in, "I  want to be able to say I gained my first job experience through SYEP." Both girls won't qualify for the program for three more years, but are already considering their future job opportunities. 

Fighting for DREAMers

QCH's Immigration Services Coordinator, Carmen Gutierrez ( at left in photo), spent January 18 on Capitol Hill,  campaigning for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or DREAMers. DACA allows individuals who entered the country illegally as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to be eligible for work. In the past year, Carmen has seen a sizable increase in DACA-related cases come through her door.

Carmen and 50 other local immigration specialists joined the New York Immigration Coalition in Washington to urge elected officials to fight for DACA's survival, as the White House has announced it would end the program in March. The group went from office to office to  explain how DACA has made it possible for so many to obtain education, begin meaningful careers, and become active members in their communities.

Now many DACA recipients are fearful they might end up back in a country they don't identify as home. "I give back to my community in all I do," said one DREAMer on the trip, a college sophomore. "I was raised here, I contribute here, why can't I stay here?"
QCH Older Adults stay informed at the "State of the Borough"
On January 26, participants from QCH's five senior centers attended Melinda Katz's State of the Borough Address in Long Island City. The Borough President outlined her vision of for the future of Queens, including a breakdown of her funding allocations, her plan for job growth, and how she's going to maximize participation in the 2020 census, among other items. As one Forest Hills Senior Center participant put it, "QCH attends every year because we want to know what our elected officers are doing for our community and to show that we care."