Meng Hosts House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Elmhurst, Queens for Community Discussion on Immigration
Jun 24, 2019
Event held on the heels of the House’s passage of the American Dream and Promise Act which would provide protections for Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure recipients
QUEENS, NY – Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), hosted by U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens), visited Elmhurst, Queens for a conversation on immigration as part of her “Speaker in the House” series, which seeks to engage communities across the country and ensure that the voices of the American people are being heard in the halls of Congress.
Pelosi and Meng were joined by immigration activists, immigration advocacy organizations and other stakeholders from across Queens and New York City to discuss policies and legislation aimed at improving the U.S. immigration system. The program, which took place in the auditorium of Elmhurst Hospital Center, featured a discussion with audience members followed by a question and answer session. Panelists consisted of three immigration rights leaders including Steve Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition; Pabitra Khati Benjamin, Executive Director of Adhikaar; and Natalia Aristizabal, Co-Director of Organizing at Make the Road New York.
The event was held following the recent passage of the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6) which seeks to establish permanent residency and a pathway to citizenship for millions of Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, and individuals covered by Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). The bill passed the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives on June 4 by a vote of 237 to 187. Meng, an original cosponsor of the legislation, voted in favor of the measure.
“It is a pleasure to join Congresswoman Grace Meng in New York for this important conversation about honoring our commitments to the immigrant communities who enrich and strengthen our nation each day, making America more American,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Our Democratic House is blessed by the outstanding leadership of Congresswoman Meng, and her persistent dedication to honoring our nation’s proud immigrant heritage and fighting back against the Administration’s discriminatory policies and callous attacks. House Democrats are proud to have passed H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act, to protect Dreamers and TPS and DED recipients, and are working relentlessly to build on that progress: calling on Senator McConnell to pass H.R. 6, fighting the Administration’s discriminatory and undemocratic attacks on the Census and continuing to fight for a comprehensive fix for our broken immigration system.”
“Queens is the most diverse place in the nation with immigrants from across the globe calling our borough home,” said Congresswoman Meng. “Fixing our broken immigration system is vital to improving the lives and aspirations of the large immigrant population that resides here, and I cannot be more proud to welcome Speaker Pelosi to my district for a wide-ranging discussion on this critical subject, particularly as we hail this month’s passage of the American Dream and Promise Act. I am also extremely pleased to be joined by the tireless and dedicated immigration advocates from our area who are on the front lines of this issue each and every day, and I thank them all for accepting my invitation to be part of this event. In addition to highlighting the importance of overhauling our nation’s immigration laws, and permitting Dreamers and TPS and DED holders to remain in the country, we must continue to fight back against the cruel policies and vicious rhetoric that President Trump has unjustly unleashed toward immigrant communities. Immigrants enrich our neighborhoods, contribute to our economy and make enormous and outstanding contributions to America. We cannot allow them to be kicked to the curb and forced into the shadows. The U.S. has always been a nation of immigrants, and no place illustrates that more than Queens and the rest of New York City. It is an honor to stand with Speaker Pelosi in supporting our hard working immigrant communities, and as the daughter of immigrants, I will continue to do everything I can to ensure that all immigrants have their shot at the American dream.”
"Adhikaar was honored to be on the panel with Speaker Pelosi, Representative Meng and immigrant rights advocates from New York,” said Pabitra Khati Benjamin, Executive Director of Adhikaar. “TPS is a critical issue for the Nepali community. Queens has one of the highest percentages of Nepali TPS holders so this was a perfect place to host this panel. Adhikaar is grateful for the work Rep. Meng has done for TPS recipients, and we look forward to working with her to move immigrant rights issues forward.”
"We’re grateful to Speaker Pelosi and Representative Meng for highlighting the importance of Queens - the most diverse immigrant neighborhood on the planet," said Steve Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “We were there with Speaker Pelosi, a couple months ago, to launch our successful ‘Promise to Dream’ campaign to get NY Representatives to sign on to the bill, and we will be there with Representative Meng to launch more immigration legislation - both for Queens immigrants and all 4 million immigrants in New York State.”