Queens top boro for illegal immigrants 1

Long lines formed the first day New Yorkers could register for IDNYC cards, as seen here at the Flushing Library. Though available to everyone, they are primarily designed for immigrants who lack an alternative form of identification.

A new report by the Migration Policy Institute found that New York City is home to more than a half-million undocumented immigrants, with the largest concentration of that population living in Queens.

“I think that Queens, to many people, symbolizes opportunity,” said Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Bayside), who was unsurprised to learn of the figure. She cited the large amount of small businesses in Queens, many of them immigrant-owned, as a potential reason.

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) echoed Meng’s sentiments.

“Queens is the center of this promise of the American Dream,” he said. “It’s a wonderful mix of diversity. In my district, you can practically walk into another country as you move between different enclaves.”

Peralta sees the new data as an opportunity, highlighting the potential these immigrants represent if they can be properly naturalized and brought into the taxpaying workforce.

According to the MPI report, Queens is home to an estimated 246,000 of the city’s 643,000 illegal immigrants, with 91,000 of them eligible for President Obama’s deferred deportation programs, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents.

Both are designed to “bring these people out of the shadows” and get them on track to pay taxes and attend college, according to Peralta, who sponsors the Dream Act, to provide undocumented students with financial aid, in the state Senate.

“We need to show them that New York is still a place that values hard work,” he added.

Meng acknowledged that while helpful, those programs are no replacement for wider reform to fix the immigration process. Processing immigrants through legal channels can take years, she said.

“It’s not about giving priority or putting undocumented immigrants ahead or anyone, it’s two separate mini-issues within the same problem,” Meng said.

“DACA and DAPA are life-rafts for the people of Queens,” Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) said in a prepared statement. “The DACA and DAPA programs allow immigrants who have established deep economic and familial ties to Queens to stay and flourish in the place they call home.”

Coupled with those federal programs are the newly implemented IDNYC cards, which offer a form of identification to all citizens but are designed primarily to serve as an alternative for undocumented immigrants.

“They give the individuals a sense of purpose,” Peralta said of the cards. “They say ‘I am here. I can work. I count.’”

Despite having more illegal immigrants than the other boroughs, Queens has the same number of registration centers for these ID cards as Manhattan and Brooklyn. Brooklyn has just 71,000 immigrants eligible for the deferred action programs, according to the MPI, 20,000 fewer than Queens.

Meng and Peralta both conceded that the demand for more centers exists.

“Queens can always need more resources,” Meng said.

“In general there should be more sites overall,” Peralta said, not just more locations in Queens.

He observed that the ID cards are beneficial to everyone in the community, not just illegal aliens.

“It all helps immigrants feel comfortable. And it helps the police too because the immigrants will be more likely to talk to them,” he explained.

According to Peralta, individuals with no form of identification who aren’t here legally will most likely be nervous talking with police, which makes it harder for cops to do their jobs and keep everyone safe.

Meng held a press conference last Friday warning immigrants against scammers attempting to fraudulently sign them up for DACA and DAPA [see separate story in some editions and at qchron.com].

(5) comments


Nobody ever mentions the fact that illegally immigrating to the US or overstaying a visa is a federal offense. Why is that?


And this is supposed to be a good thing, that many illegal immigrants into an already overcrowded borough filled with illegal conversions which pose hazards and subject the people living in them and the neighbors to possible dangers. The majority of fires in Queens are due to illegal apartments. Let's also mention that fact that these types of illegal apartments filled to the brim with illegal immigrants put a major strain on infrastructure. Oh and this it is totally ILLEGAL to be in this country illegally, hence the name right in the phrase ILLEGAL immigrants.

Explain how this is a positive thing. Oh wait, you can't because there is no positive upside to this.



I recall Mayor Giulianni had wanted to inspect the area of Richmond Hill Queens for starters. He didn't.

Annie Nonimous

We had neighbors next door right off Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill. They were always hanging around on the stoop or sitting on parked cars. They laughed at us to our face because we left every day to go to work. They told us Americans' are "stupid" because they get paid for nothing, and that the mailman was "stupid" because he had to work to carry them all their checks (and there were lots of checks delivered to that house!) They had tons of kids -- one dirtier than the other. Nobody went to school. The stench from the house was notable. We made phone calls about truancy. We made phone calls about welfare fraud. Nothing ever happened. So, maybe they were right. Maybe Americans are "STUPID."

Haul them all away and send them back to wherever they came from? Sounds like a good idea to me. [beam]


I think the Democrats try to whitewash illegal immigration because it's a way for them to accumulate political power. Why can't people ask for permission before coming and working here? Illegal immigrants offer an attractive demographic for Democrats because they are easy to control. They're really single-issue voters--all you have to do is let them in by not enforcing the law and they'll like you. Then, you can provide them and make them dependent on governmental assistance since they're not going to be able to get rich on their low-skill jobs. A huge bloc of guaranteed votes.
In the meantime, these Democrats who speak about the wonders of diversity are isolated from the on-the-ground realities of illegal immigration: the overcrowding, the growing public debt from entitlement programs, the cultural fragmentation, the crime, the unfair economic competition and wage depression. It's not a good situation when a bunch of people flow into your country who have not gone through the proper channels. They're grasp of English is poor, they don't understand the culture or the Constitution, and they consume resources that citizens are entitled to first.
I have no problem with immigrants, it is just essential that they show they love our country by respecting the laws we have in place to control the flow of people coming into this country.

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