Crowley Holds Roundtable With Immigrant Rights Groups

    U.S. Representative Joe Crowley/via Facebook

    U.S. Rep. and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-Sunnyside, Astoria, College Point, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, Woodside, Parts of the Bronx) held a roundtable on Tuesday with representatives from leading immigrant-rights groups to discuss the urgent need for Congress to pass a clean DREAM Act.

    More than 100 DREAMers face deportation every day that Congress fails to protect these young people. If President Trump and congressional Republicans refuse to act, the U.S. economy will see a $460.3 billion loss in GDP over the next decade. In New York, 41,000 individuals are at risk of being ripped from their schools, families, and communities.

    Participants in the roundtable included Bitta Mostofi, the Acting Commissioner for the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Jessica Orozco Guttlein, the Assistant Vice President for Policy at the Hispanic Federation, Anu Joshi, the Director of Immigration Policy with the New York Immigration Coalition, Stephanie Delia, a staff attorney with CUNY Citizenship Now, Tony Alarcon, an Immigration Youth Organizer for Make the Road NY, Walter Barrientos, the Long Island Organizing Director for the Make the Road NY and representatives from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz’s and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s offices.

    “President Trump created a crisis for the DREAMers when he ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program last fall. It is inexcusable that Republicans in Congress have not allowed a vote on the DREAM Act, which has broad bipartisan support, to provide security to these young men and women who are Americans in their hearts and minds,” said Crowley. “I deeply appreciated meeting with these leading activists to discuss how we can all further protect the DREAMers in Queens, the Bronx, and across the country.”

    Queens Borough President Melinda Katz/via Facebook

    Crowley voted against the short-term government funding bill that passed Congress in December because it did not include a legislative fix for DREAMers. He’s been a leading voice in Congress fighting for security for DREAMers and protecting immigrant’s rights.

    “DACA recipients are our families’ children, our co-workers’ children, our neighbors’ children. They are as American as my children, and want to be law-abiding citizens in the one country they know,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “We are a nation of immigrants, built on the backs of immigrants’ labor, and their future is indivisible from anyone’s future. Congress must pass clean legislation that will protect DREAMers from unjust deportations and allow them to live and continue being a source of strength in our communities.”

    Addabbo Reminds Constituents Of New State Laws

    Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.

    State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways) recently reminded constituents that several new state laws including a raise in the minimum wage, tax relief for middle-income families, and support for people who need time off from work to care for new babies or seriously ill family members took effect in the new year.

    “Although we must continue to analyze the ultimate effects of federal tax reform on individuals and families in New York, which may be significant, I am glad my colleagues and I took steps on the state level to help people keep a little more money in their pockets and balance important work and family responsibilities,” said Addabbo. “We may have a tough economic year coming up, but I will continue to push for policies that help New Yorkers manage their personal finances and care for their loved ones.”

    January marks the first phase of the “Middle Class Tax Reduction Program” enacted as part of the 2016-2017 State Budget. The program begins to reduce the personal income tax (PIT) for New Yorkers earning under $300,000, and will cut these taxes statewide by $4.2 billion annually when fully implemented by 2025.  In the end, tax rates will fall to 5.5 percent for those earning under $150,000 and to six percent for taxpayers with higher incomes up to $300,000. Many small businesses are also expected to benefit from the PIT reductions.

    A general state minimum wage increase that has been phasing in over several years has now raised hourly pay from $11 to $13 for most New York City workers at this end of the pay scale. Minimum wage earners working for City businesses with 10 or fewer employees will see an increase from $10.50 to $12 per hour.

    “This hike in the minimum wage will help more New Yorkers afford basic life necessities and keep their household budgets in balance,” said Addabbo, a member of the Senate Labor Committee. “With high housing, food and other costs in New York City, this small increase in hourly wages will make a big difference in the lives of many low-income workers and families.”

    A new Paid Family Leave (PFL) program, an initiative long championed by Addabbo, will now enable workers who need time out of the labor force to bond with new babies, care for seriously ill loved ones, or deal with the challenges of military deployment to take eight weeks of paid leave from their jobs. Funded through small employee payroll deductions, PFL will provide 12 weeks of job-protected paid leave at 67 percent of a worker’s weekly wage when it is fully phased in by 2021. For 2018, employees will receive 50 percent of their weekly wages.

    Workers and employers interested in more information about PFL may visit or call the helpline at 1-844-337-6303.

    Avella Demands Answers On Waterpointe Brownfield Cleanup

    Sen. Tony Avella

    State Sen. Tony Avella (D-College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Floral Park) recently sent a letter to state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos requesting an immediate meeting with the Commissioner to demand answers concerning the Whitestone Waterpointe Brownfield Cleanup Program.

    Specifically, Avella wants to know why DEC permitted the developer, the Edgestone Group, to modify the soil “cover” requirement from a “Track 2 Residential” to “Track 4 Restricted-Residential.”

    Avella is especially concerned that DEC allowed such a change without first discussing it with any of the elected officials, Community Board 7, or community members who have been closely following this development project for over a decade.

    “I am incredibly disappointed and disturbed that DEC allowed these significant and detrimental changes to the remediation plan and it is disgraceful that it would do so without any input from the community or local elected officials given the long history of this planned development on historically contaminated land. Using an inappropriate fill could have serious repercussions for whoever ends up living at the site and could restrict how homeowners are allowed to use their own property. The quality of soil upon which this development is being built will affect the value of these homes and in turn can effect the resulting stability of the neighborhood,” said Avella.

    Queens Village Republican Club Meeting Tonight

    The Queens Village Republican Club will hold their general meeting tonight, snow or no snow.

    Among the guest speakers are  Harry Wison, Founder and CEO of MAEVA Group, LLC, and past senior advisor of the U.S. Treasury Department. Republican candidate for NYS Comptroller in 2010.

    Wilson has been touted as a strong GOP candidate for governor, but recently announced he will not run.

    The meeting is slated for 7:30 p.m., tonight, Jan. 4 at the Knights of Columbus/St. Anne’s Council, 263-15 Union Tpke., in Glen Oaks.

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