Aug. 2, 2019 By Allie Griffin.
Council Member Costa Constantinides has secured $90,000 for expanded immigration services for western Queens in the new City budget. The money will fund additional programs in citizen training, English language tutoring and career service offered by Astoria-based organizations.
The increase in funding comes as President Donald Trump’s administration threatens to order more raids by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the five boroughs.
“New York City remains committed to taking in the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses — in spite of the Trump administration’s xenophobic immigration platform,” Constantinides said.
More than 1 million immigrants live in Queens and nearly half is either undocumented or holds a green card-level status, according to the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. The borough also has the highest number of undocumented immigrants in the city at 184,000.
The new funding was split between two Astoria organizations. The Ansob Center for Refugees received $85,000, a 17 percent increase from the last fiscal year and the Center for the Integration and Advancement of New Americans, or CIANA, was given $5,000 to provide more immigration services — particularly to people from South Asia, Latin America, North Africa, and the Middle East.
“At this difficult time for immigrants, support for civics and ESL programs like ours is vital,” said Emira Habiby Browne, CEO and Founder of CIANA. “We are very appreciative of the support of Council Member Constantinides for our immigrant families, who are all striving to belong and contribute to American society and need help in the safe and familial environment that we provide.”
“As a first-generation American who came of age basking in the diversity of Astoria, I am committed to making sure our immigrant neighbors get the help they need to fulfill the American dream,” Constantinides said. “This year’s budget sees that promise through to provide more funding to our existing organizations and creates new partnerships.”