(June 15, 2021 at 2pm)

QUEENS, NY – Alongside elected officials, advocates and leading immigration service providers in The World’s Borough, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. cut the ribbon today on Queens Borough Hall’s new Immigrant Welcome Center — a first-of-its-kind service hub at The People’s House, representing an unprecedented investment in immigration-related resources available for the more than 1 million immigrants who call Queens home. 

“There’s a reason why we’re called ‘The World’s Borough.’ Every day, families from all corners of the globe come here to Queens to start businesses in our neighborhoods, send their children to our schools and be integral parts of our thriving communities,” said Borough President RICHARDS. “We could not be prouder to open the first-ever Immigrant Welcome Center at Queens Borough Hall to better serve our immigrant families and provide a vast array of critical services.” 

More than one-third of New York City’s three million immigrants reside in Queens, with nearly 50 percent of the borough’s 2.4 million residents were born abroad. Beginning with the June 15 soft launch of the Immigrant Welcome Center and continuing into the future as capacity and the variety of available services expands, families contacting or visiting Queens Borough Hall will be connected with comprehensive, multilingual services such as legal assistance and referrals to community-based organizations and city services. 

The Immigrant Welcome Center will be staffed by a full-time coordinator and Borough President Richards’ Director of Immigrant Affairs — both of whom are immigrants themselves and fluent in Mandarin and Spanish, respectively — and will assist in case management. 

CUNY Citizenship Now!, the largest university legal assistance program in the nation providing free and confidential citizenship and immigration law services, will partner with the Queens Borough President’s Office to help assist with legal consultations. Additional partnerships with other service providers, as well as city and state agencies, are expected as the Center’s operations expand in the future. 

Coinciding with the soft launch of the Center is the Queens Borough President’s Office’s first-ever language access phone line. Non-English speakers calling the office in search of services facilitated by the Center will be simultaneously connected to an Office staff member and a third-party translator, breaking down any potential language barriers between the staff member and the caller. 

Open on weekdays from 9AM to 5PM, the Immigrant Welcome Center can be contacted via phone at 718-286-0644 and via email at [email protected]. In-person visits are by appointment only. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Immigrant Welcome Center is currently not accepting walk-ins. Additional information about Borough President Richards’ Immigrant Welcome Center can be found at queensbp.org/immigrantwelcomecenter, the Center’s dedicated webpage, complete with a community calendar and links to a wide array of resources. 

Click here for photos of the June 15 Immigrant Welcome Center ribbon cutting. 

“We applaud Borough President Richards for his commitment and efforts to create an Immigrant Welcome Center, bringing much needed services to Queens’ immigrants,” said CUNY Citizenship Now! Director ALLAN WERNICK. “We are pleased that CUNY Citizenship Now! will be providing free, high-quality immigration assistance at the center.” 

“Immigrant New Yorkers have been resilient leaders throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to be key to New York City’s recovery,” said Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Deputy Commissioner MAY MALIK. “As we celebrate their contributions this Immigrant Heritage Month, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs is thrilled by the opening of the Queens Borough President’s Immigrant Welcome Center, a resource that will help address needs within immigrant communities. By focusing on language access and connecting visitors to City and community-based programs, the center signals that further supporting our immigrant neighbors is critical to the City’s future. We look forward to partnering with the Center to empower and advocate for immigrant communities across Queens.” 

“With 2.4 million foreign-born residents, Queens is the heart of immigrant New York,” said New York Immigration Coalition Interim Vice President ALANA P. CANTILLO. “The New York Immigration Coalition thanks Queens Borough President Richards for opening the Immigrant Welcome Center, a hub for the community that is both linguistically responsive and dedicated to improving access to city services for all immigrants, regardless of status or country of origin. We look forward to working with his office to ensure that our local government continues to prioritize improving access and services for immigrants throughout the city.”  

“Congratulations to Queens Borough President Donovan Richards for keeping his campaign promise to create an Immigration Welcome Center to support New Americans in the most diverse borough in the world,” said Asian American Federation Executive Director JO-ANN YOO. “The Welcome Center promises to be an important hub to help newcomers to our City find their bearings in their new home with an array of services from legal assistance to social services.  AAF is happy to celebrate the opening of this Center – a facility we’re especially invested in since we were able to play a small part in its planning. Happy Immigrant Heritage Month!” 

“I commend Borough President Richards for creating this critical hub for immigrant families in Queens. As the daughter of immigrants from our borough, I know firsthand how crucial it is to provide needed resources to our local immigrant communities, and Borough Hall’s new Immigrant Welcome Center is a needed investment in things such as legal assistance and referrals to community-based organizations and city services,” said Congresswoman GRACE MENG. “We must do all we can to empower immigrants and help them thrive. I’m proud to help do that on the federal level, and pleased that these resources are being provided locally here in our borough.” 

“The Immigrant Welcome Center will provide a reliable portal to necessary services in a trusted location- our beloved Queens Borough Hall,” said Queens District Attorney MELINDA KATZ. “As District Attorney, I know how important it is for our diverse, immigrant communities to have the information and services they need. That’s why we have an Immigration Specialist to help immigrants navigate successfully through the system.  We commend the Borough President’s office for amplifying our shared value: the diversity of Queens is its strength.” 

“Queens is indisputably the Borough of Immigrants, and their important cultural contributions to our neighborhoods create a vibrancy and depth that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. However, their assimilation into life in a new country does not come without challenges,” said Assemblywoman CATALINA CRUZ. “The Immigrant Welcome Center at Queens Borough Hall will be the first of its kind in the State of New York, and amongst only a handful nationwide.  I am honored and thrilled to join Queens Borough President Donovan Richards on this initiative, and I applaud him for his bold dedication and vision for the immigrants of our great Borough.”   

“I am very happy to hear that there will be an Immigrant Welcome Center for the entire borough of Queens,” said Councilmember DANIEL DROMM. This is major step forward for our community to receive services by collaborating with well-rounded organizations to easily find assistance, education and emergency relief. A center like this will bring transparency, better data and research on immigrant groups and collective sense of community.” 

“As the World’s Borough, Queens has always been a welcoming home for immigrants, who need access to comprehensive, culturally-competent services,” said Councilmember ADRIENNE ADAMS. “The new Immigrant Welcome Center at Queens Borough Hall is a significant milestone and will have a big impact on our immigrant communities. I thank Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. for opening this new centralized hub for all Queens families!” 

“In a nation of immigrants, in a city of immigrants, Queens is a truly international place that residents from across the world call home,” said Councilmember BARRY GRODENCHIK.  “Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr.’s new immigrant welcome center will provide a range of critical services in a centralized location, and I know that the people of Queens will benefit immensely.” 

“Culturally competent immigration assistance is among the most in-demand constituent services in Queens. An Immigrant Welcome Center will give new immigrants a one-stop shop for all their legal assistance, referral and advice needs,” said Councilmember PETER KOO. I am happy to join Borough President Richards in encouraging the public to take advantage of these services.” 

“In the world’s most diverse borough, it’s crucial that we have culturally sensitive resources and support for the immigrant community. We’ve strived to provide resources in our district office through our partnership with CUNY Citizenship Now, and are excited at the prospect of having another resource in our toolbox to refer constituents in need of assistance,” said Councilmember I. DANEEK MILLER. “I thank Borough President Richards and his team for spearheading this new initiative in partnership with some the city’s best community based organizations.” 

“As the daughter of immigrants who emigrated to Queens, I’m excited to see the new Immigrant Welcome Center transform our community,” said Councilmember SELVENA BROOKS-POWERS. “Queens is one of the most diverse, inclusive places in the world. And, now whether a longtime resident or new to the borough, our neighbors can connect to vital services and resources at the Welcome Center.” 

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