Citizenship Now! | Andy Poon, Queens College

Queens College Opens Newest CUNY Citizenship Now! Location

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Queens College became the most recent location for CUNY’s “Citizenship Now!” program — a program dedicated to providing CUNY’s undocumented and immigrant students and their families with legal assistance acquiring citizenship in mid-April. 

The program has paralegals and attorneys that are willing to aid those interested on the journey to gaining citizenship. Members who are aiding in the process are noted as versed in their fields, and are required to partake in events and workshops that help strengthen their understanding of immigration, citizenship, and the rights people have, as the dynamics of immigration are ever-changing. 

CUNY Citizenship Now! is partnered with the New York Historical Society, offering civics classes to green card holders. The project works to guarantee that immigrants get assistance tailored to their specific needs.

“With the continued vision that a student’s immigration status should never be a barrier to their academic success, CUNY Citizenship Now! is honored to open a full-time immigration center here at Queens College,” said Interim Director of CUNY Citizenship Now!, Monique Francis. 

The initiative has been operational since 1997, offering free and confidential services regarding citizenship and immigration legal services. Its major agenda has been to “empower immigrants to represent themselves through the pro se model of legal assistance,” according to a press release from the college.

Located in Room 100 of the Student Union lobby, Citizenship Now! will be giving people the space to attain legal help through one-on-one assistance, available to be booked online. 

“As a Queens College alumnus and an employee of Queens College, I am beyond thrilled that we are bringing a CUNY citizenship office to our campus,” said Jay Hershenson, QC’s vice president for communications and marketing. Hershenson helped found the program nearly 30 years ago with former founding director Allan Wernick.

The program has since been an oasis for thousands of immigrants and has helped them successfully work through the complex immigration process. 

Undocumented and immigrant students will have access to up-to-date information on immigrant services, resources, scholarships, and what support is available on campus by signing up for the for their email list.

“This office will provide students with the personalized legal support they need to complete their citizenship journey and navigate other immigration issues, which will provide peace of mind so they can focus on reaching their academic and professional goals,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez in the press release.

Francis made it clear that the immigration process is one that has had a hefty cost attached, but Citizenship Now! aims to ensure services are free of charge and readily available.

The ribbon cutting ceremony took place in the Student Union lobby, attended by QC administrators such as President Frank Wu, Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Jennifer Jarvis, and Hershenson.

To book a free in-person, confidential immigration consultation with the CUNY Citizenship Now! office at Queens College, please call (646) 654-9400. You can also submit a request to receive a callback here. In both cases, please specify having the appointment in the Queens College office. Join the Immigrant Student Support Initiative email list using this link.

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