En EspaƱol Know Your Rights
Source: Daily News
Subject: Immigration
Type: Media Coverage

EXCLUSIVE: NYC to shell out $18M to help undocumented immigrants get jobs

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn says the program is meant to help young New Yorkers qualify for President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative, which lets undocumented immigrants who came the U.S. before age 16 and were younger than 31 on June 15, 2012, get driver’s licenses and Social Security cards.

Margarita Lopez says she hopes to take advantage of President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative. The New York City Council’s $18 million fund for adult education and GED classes, which City Council Speaker Christine Quinn will announce Wednesday, should help.

New York City plans to spend $18 million over the next two years to help immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children land legal jobs and get driver’s licenses.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn — flexing the power of her office in the midst of a tough election fight as she runs for mayor — will announce the effort Wednesday.

It’s geared toward helping more young New Yorkers qualify for President Barack Obama’s year-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative, which lets undocumented immigrants who came the U.S. before age 16 and were younger than 31 on June 15, 2012, get driver’s licenses and Social Security cards.

As many as 79,000 New Yorkers meet the age and immigration requirements for the program, Quinn says, but as many as 16,000 of them could be disqualified because the strict program requires applicants to have graduated from high school, earned a GED or be currently working toward a diploma.

The $18 million from the City Council will fund adult education classes and GED programs for people who need help meeting the education requirements.

“We can’t let the opportunity … fall short because we didn’t do what we need to do,” Quinn (D-Manhattan) told the Daily News. “We’re talking about children who were brought here by their parents … They’re New Yorkers, for God’s sakes.”

The city’s adult education classes are already operating at capacity and couldn’t handle an influx of thousands of students, Quinn said, so the Council money will pay to expand the number of classes for students.

People waiting to apply for the federal immigration program will be given priority seating.

Margarita Lopez — a 24-year-old undocumented Queens immigrant who came to the United States as a 6-year-old — said she is eager to get her GED and apply for the program.

“I’d like to become a teacher or a nurse,” Lopez said. “I really like kids.”

Lopez, who said she’s never had a job because she has feared deportation, added that being able to work in the U.S. would change her life.

“It would change everything,” she said.

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