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

Queens immigrant population keeps booming

Queens remains the borough of immigrants.

More than 75,000 new immigrants streamed into Queens over the past three years — the biggest influx of newcomers in the entire city, Department of City Planning data shows.

From Flushing to Richmond Hill, newcomers from China, Guyana, Ecuador and Mexico, among other countries, helped fuel the borough’s biggest population spike since 2000.

“This dynamism is testimony to the city as a magnet for those seeking opportunities, then moving on, only to be replaced by the next set of individuals aspiring for a better life,” reads the a report issued Wednesday.

Chinese immigrants, who now comprise 13% of the borough, make up the largest group of newcomers, followed by Guyanese, Ecuadorian and Mexican transplants.

The 75,728 foreign-born arrivals in Queens edged out the 66,193 who descended on Brooklyn during the same three-year period. The rising number of immigrants in all five boroughs helped push the city’s population to 8.4 million.

“It’s got the beauty of being the most diverse borough, but it’s so dense that you have overcrowding in schools and people doubling up in apartments,” said Hilary Klein, chief of staff of Make the Road New York.

Travel agencies who have assisted immigrants with moves to the country have also noted the uptick in recent years, said Michael Chu, a civic leader in Flushing who owns Asian American Global Travel Inc., a travel agency.

“It’s quite a substantial arrival of Asian immigrants — especially the Chinese in the Flushing area,” said Chu. “All the new arrivals from Asia pick New York City as their first destination because of its convenience.”

Chu noted that Jackson Heights, Corana and Elmhurst — which boasts the largest number of immigrants in Queens — took in the majority of new tenants because of the affordable rent apartments in those neighborhoods tend to offer.

Despite the influx, many of Northwest Queens’ Ecuadorian and Mexican immigrants may have been unaccounted for, said Valeria Treves of the New Immigrant Community Empowerment.

“It’s probably undercounted,” said Treves. “And the people who are the lowest wage earners and in the most overcrowded housing are the ones who were the least counted.”

Meanwhile, immigrant advocates in Richmond Hill contend the Queens’ 82,538-strong Guyanese population is a higher proportion in the borough than most New Yorkers would imagine.

“If you look at every single neighborhood in Southern Queens, the Guyanese are the largest immigrant community,” said Richard David of the Indo-Caribbean Alliance. “It just confirms what we’ve known on the ground for a long time.”

The large numbers of immigrants, however, could equate to greater competition for fewer resources, some concerned citizens warned, pointing to overtaxed public transit and streets as well as crowded senior housing facilities.

“We need a better plan to address this growth,” said Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing), who believes the population bump has created a public transit bottleneck in his district. “That’s the root of the problem.”

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