U.S. REP. GREGORY MEEKS, BP MELINDA KATZ URGE USCIS TO RE-OPEN CITIZENSHIP/IMMIGRATION OFFICE IN QUEENS

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QUEENS, NY – U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks and Borough President Melinda Katz today reiterated their call for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to re-open its Queens Field Office, which has been closed since it was displaced from its full-service Long Island City site to Lower Manhattan two years ago. Borough President Katz also proposed relocating the Queens Field Office to the vacant space available in the Addabbo Federal Building in Jamaica, Queens.

“My office has helped thousands of constituents with their immigration matters,” U.S. Representative MEEKS said. “Yet, never before have my constituents shown as much concern about their immigration status due to the incoming administration. Hearing their well-founded concerns, Borough President Katz and I are pressing USCIS to reopen its field office to fulfill this clear need. We believe that families should be well-informed and they deserve comprehensive assistance so they have the best opportunity to keep their families together and whole.”

“Queens is home to over 2.3 million residents, at least 48 percent of whom were born abroad,” Borough President KATZ said. “Many people – both citizens and non-citizens – are feeling tremendous uncertainty about the future. I’ve long proposed the existing Addabbo Federal Building in Jamaica as an ideal, permanent location for the long-displaced Queens Field Office to enhance customer service and better meet demand. Its optimal location already hosts a federal agency, has vacant space, and has abundant access to mass transit.  I urge USCIS to further consider Jamaica for a permanent Queens Field Office, and render my office ready to host or assist in facilitating further development of this viable option.”

USCIS Field Offices handle non-asylum related applications, including citizenship and green card applications and more. USCIS Field Offices do not conduct immigration enforcement. Currently, the only operational Field Offices within USCIS District 3 are located in Lower Manhattan and Holtsville, Long Island, requiring long, onerous travels for customers from Queens.

USCIS first opened the Queens Field Office in a 48,000 sq. ft. space in Long Island City in January 2012 with the intent to decentralize and “provide services where our customers live”. While operational, the Queens Field Office in Long Island City served high numbers of customers, averaging 180 naturalization applications and 130 adjustment of status applications per day. In January 2015, however, USCIS temporarily closed the Queens Field Office due to a massive flood and relocated it as a separate unit at 26 Federal Plaza in Lower Manhattan, where it has remained ever since.

Borough President Katz first proposed relocating the USCIS Queens Field Office to the Addabbo Federal Building in Jamaica, Queens (which currently hosts the U.S. Social Security Administration) in March 2016 while on a site visit hosted by Representative Meeks with the U.S. General Services Administration.  Representative Meeks’ tour included discussions about planned renovations to several vacant floors available for use by federal agencies and local organizations.  In a letter to USCIS headquarters in April 2016, Borough President Katz formally recommended the Jamaica site as an optimal option for a permanent location for its Queens Field Office.

 

Follow Borough President Katz via @melindakatz or www.facebook.com/queensbpkatz

 

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