USCIS Opens New Field Office in Queens, New York
This past Friday, USCIS celebrated the official opening of its newest full service immigration field office in Queens, New York. Director Alejandro Mayorkas and New York District Director Andrea Quarantillo were joined for the ribbon-cutting ceremony by staff and dignitaries including Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (14th District, N.Y.), Congressman Joseph Crowley (7th District, N.Y.) and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall.
Director Mayorkas (standing left) applauds as New York District Director Andrea Quarantillo and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney cut the ceremonial ribbon
The office, located at 27-35 Jackson Ave., is situated at the center of one of the most diverse communities in the United States and is expected to serve around 500 people each day. It consists of waiting rooms, an Application Support Center (which offers fingerprinting and photographic services as part of the application process), a naturalization ceremony room, and interview and file rooms. Director Mayorkas noted during the ceremony that the office is part of an ongoing effort to “provide services where our customers live.”
USCIS staff, community leaders, and members of the media listen to opening remarks
USCIS Supervisory Immigration Services Officer Yvette Lugo is one of approximately 100 employees who helped get the office running. She now works there on a permanent basis and noted that previously, “Many Queens residents had to take a very long trip to the Long Island Office, where sometimes they would have to take a cab and pay $60.” She is also confident that the new office will relieve pressure on other offices in the region, and cut down on wait times for applicants.
Antonio Meloni, the Executive Director of a community-based organization in Queens that assists immigrants, believes that the office is an important step in making services more accessible for local citizens and immigrants. “We’ve all stood in line and we all understand how stressful it is…and you may not finish because there are too many people…and now that won’t happen because this new office alleviates that.” He also believes the new office will also save many residents long trips to either Manhattan or Long Island offices, often through tough New York traffic. “It’s a big, big step, a large accommodation for the people.”
In an emotional moment for USCIS staffers, a portion of the new office in Queens was dedicated to former Field Office Director Gwynne K. MacPherson-Williams, who passed away in March 2011 after 38 years of distinguished public service in New York City. A plaque was placed in the new naturalization ceremony room in her memory.
For more information on our new office, please see our website.