News & Events

El Diario: Catalina Cruz recibe el respaldo de Melissa Mark-Viverito y Julissa Ferreras en su lucha por la Asamblea

Catalina Cruz recibe el respaldo de Melissa Mark-Viverito y Julissa Ferreras en su lucha por la Asamblea

Las dos peso pesado de la política neoyorquina apoyan a la colombiana, quien se enfrentará en septiembre a Ari Espinal, respaldada por el Partido Demócrata.

photo by marielalombard

Este martes 24 de abril se realizarán las llamadas elecciones especiales, donde 11 distritos en el Estado elegirán a los candidatos que ocuparán igual número de curules para lo que resta de la actual sesión legislativa en Albany, y aunque en el Distrito 39 de QueensAri Espinal ya tiene asegurada la silla que dejó Francisco Moya en la Asamblea, su contendora en las elecciones de septiembre, Catalina Cruz, acaba de ganarse el respaldo de dos de las figuras políticas más destacadas de la Gran Manzana.

La abogada de Corona, quien fue indocumentada y espera convertirse en la primera colombiana en Nueva York en ocupar un alto cargo político, recibió el apoyo de la expresidenta del Concejo Municipal, Melissa Mark-Viverito y la expresidenta del Comité de Finzanzas de ese mismo organismo, Julissa Ferreras.

“Catalina Cruz tiene la visión y la experiencia necesarias para convertirse en un miembro destacado de la Asamblea Estatal”, aseguró Mark-Viverito. “He sido testigo de su pasión por la justicia social y económica y su capacidad única para producir resultados. Confío en que logrará cosas aún mejores en la Asamblea Estatal y la apoyo entusiastamente”.

Ferreras, por su parte, describió a la candidata como “la líder que necesitamos en Albany para abogar por nuestra comunidad” y destacó en ella su entrega y compromiso.

“He trabajado estrechamente con ella durante años y sé que será una fuerza poderosa para la justicia en la Asamblea Estatal. Durante décadas, Catalina ha sido líder de nuestra comunidad y alguien que ha luchado arduamente para mantener a las personas en sus hogares y mantener a las familias unidas”.

 

Candidata a la asamblea estatal, Catalina Cruz.

Tras recibir el apoyo, la colombiana dijo: “Me siento honrada de recibir el respaldo de dos latinas increíblemente consumadas de quienes he aprendido mucho sobre defensa de las comunidades y legislación”.

Asimismo, la candidata demócrata agregó que su mejor carta de presentación son los antecedentes de trabajo exitoso, que puede comprobar y dijo que desde Albany seguirá trabajando arduamente por las principales necesidades de neoyorquinos vulnerables.

“Estoy enfocada en resolver los problemas difíciles que enfrentan nuestras comunidades, como arreglar la MTA, ayudar a las personas mayores a permitirse quedarse en sus casas y poner fin a la crisis de sobrepoblación en nuestras escuelas”, comentó la candidata.

source: https://eldiariony.com/2018/04/23/catalina-cruz-recibe-el-respaldo-de-melissa-mark-viverito-y-julissa-ferreras-en-su-lucha-por-la-asamblea/

Queens Latino: Pelea de latinos por distrito 39 en Asamblea de Queens

Ari Espinal gana este martes la elección al distrito 39 de la Asamblea porque fue escogida a dedo por el Partido Demócrata. “Pero la verdadera elección es en septiembre y este martes es pura ceremonia”, dijo Melissa Mark-Viverito, ex presidenta del Concejo de Nueva York.

Viverito y la ex concejal Julissa Ferreras Copeland acudieron la noche de este lunes al restaurante La Estrella del Caribe, en Corona, Queens, a apoyar la candidatura de Catalina Cruz. Alrededor de 30 personas fueron a escuchar a Cruz y contribuir con dinero a su campaña.

“Tenemos que acabar con la mediocridad, la falta de integridad y la ausencia”, dijo Ferreras Copeland haciendo alusión a Francisco Moya, quien no interactúa en la comunidad, dejó el asiento del distrito 39 de la Asamblea para convertirse en concejal y luego sentar allí a Espinal.

Un miembro destacado del Partido Demócrata de Queens dijo que el problema de Espinal es que no ha hecho nada por la comunidad y la sombra de Moya, “que no es muy grande”, la está opacando.

“Ari es buena gente, pero no está calificada para ocupar esa posición”, dijo Ferreras Copelan. “Catalina es una soñadora (Dreamer) que está dando la lucha en el frente de batalla”, añadió Viverito.

“Apoyo a Catalina porque son los jóvenes capacitados los que tienen que acabar con esta mediocridad en la política”, dijo Angel Gil Orrios, director artístico del Teatro Thalia. “Catalina es pasional y honesta”, dijo una fiscal de Nueva York que no quiso ser identificada.

source: http://queenslatino.com/candidatos-catalina-cruz-asamblea-queens-latinos/

The Wire: Interview with DREAMer Catalina Cruz

“Nobody knew that I was undocumented when I was growing up. We never spoke about it. Some of my friends knew that I grew up in poverty but most did not. I did have one cheerleader though, she was one of my friend’s moms, Marilyn, she was a retired corrections officer. She was one of my biggest cheerleaders, encouraging me to apply to college and made sure I went to college and got involved.

When I decided to run, she was one of the first people I told. I bring this up because I think Queens, growing up where I did, allowed me to build my own version of a coalition. Marilyn and I connected not because of our shared race, or income, or status – she’s African American, I’m Latina; she’s middle-class, I was low income; and she’s a citizen. We were brought together because she believed in me, she saw the drive, and I think that’s true of most people in Queens – people share the love and give support to one other.” – CATALINA CRUZ

If elected from Queens in New York, immigration champion Catalina Cruz

will become the first Dreamer to have run and be elected into office in the State.

by Aliya Bhatia

New York: In the United States, Dreamers are children who benefited from the Dream Act (short for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act), introduced in the Senate first in 2001, that granted legal protections to the children of undocumented individuals. Many believe that the immigration system in the US is broken due to the intimidatingly long wait times (it takes as many up to 15-20 years to get citizenship) and barriers to applying (cost, employment etc.) As a result, many seeking refuge, or those fleeing persecution, choose to enter the US without documentation, leaving them – an estimated 11.3 million individuals – in a very precarious position.

This number also includes individuals who entered the country with temporary status i.e. a tourist visa or short-term work permit and who remained after their permit expired. They try to stay under the radar, often not even getting medical help when required in case they are asked to show documentation. Failure to comply can bring them to the notice of ICE (US Customs and Immigration Enforcement).

Just last fall, Trump revoked the Obama-era spouse-visa programme that left thousands of Indian women who followed their husbands for lucrative IT or business jobs unemployed and undocumented.

There are many myths around this community that perpetuate this stereotype that they are “a burden on the US”. The first is that they engage in more criminal activity than their American counterparts — something that the Marshall Project, a non-profit journalism organisation that reports on criminal justice, presented data against earlier this month. Second is that these communities cross the border easily and that there is a need for more law enforcement – or as the Trump Administration puts it “extreme vetting”. The assumption undergirding this policy is that immigration and entering the US has previously been “easy” and without barriers, which as the American Civil Liberties Union and other organisations have confirmed, is not true.

Catalina Cruz is the child of undocumented parents and is the first Dreamer ever to stand for a State seat. Her decision is more than symbolic – she wants to focus on many genuine problems dreamers and undocumented immigrants face, especially in the current environment.

Cruz is running for a state seat in New York State, where one of five residents is an immigrant and has a population of 750,000 undocumented individuals and 45,000 DACA recipients reside. If elected, she will be the first Dreamer to have run and be elected into office in the State.

In the 17 years since the Dream Act was first passed, the Bush and Obama administrations worked hard to put forward legislation to grant these children citizenship, but those efforts failed. Yet, no hit to the Dream Act has been as forceful as Trump’s repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in September 2017. With that repeal, children like Cruz — who entered the United States from Medellin, Colombia when she was nine — would be subject to deportation or detention.

The premise of both the Dream Act and legislation that falls under it, like DACA, is that children who were brought to the United States are not to blame for their parents’ illegal entrance into the country. Queens, the district Cruz is trying to secure a seat in, is also a community that boasts of a lot of residents from India and Pakistan. A study measuring the post-1965 migration of Indians to the United States estimated that 53% of the Indian population in America lived in Queens. This diversity and the lack of representation of it in elected office has spurred many to run including Cruz and Suraj Patel, running for Democratic Party candidate for Congress in New York City.

An attorney, Cruz spoke to The Wire about why she chose to run for the primary, which takes place on September 13, and what it means for a Dreamer to seek this role. Excerpts from the interview:

Catalina Cruz speaking at a press conference with City Councilman Daniel Dromm in Queens.

Why did you decide to run?

I’m an attorney and have been practicing for ten years. Growing up undocumented informed what I wanted to work on, as did seeing how my mother was treated at work. She first worked in housekeeping at a motel in Queens. Her access to jobs was obviously limited, but I also saw a lot of injustice seeing my mother work in precarious positions. One day, she was injured at work – she hurt her hand. She didn’t make a claim or even think she could, even though it was a workplace injury. Seeing that, I knew I wanted people to have a life that was better than the one we had, an easier life.

A lot of what I’ve worked on as a lawyer is on immigration cases, workplace cases for immigrants, tenants’ rights. Immigration affects all aspects of your life, from workplace safety to driving to access to certain jobs and education. The heart of why I do what I do is that I don’t want other families to go through what we did growing up.

The work you’re doing has become all the more urgent now.

Yes, I can’t even imagine what it’s like now. When I was growing up my status was precarious but also secret. We talked about it at home and nowhere else. No one I grew up with knew that we didn’t have papers, we just didn’t talk about it because we didn’t know who would bring it up, where they would bring it up – you never know who would call ICE. You didn’t want to put yourself in that jeopardy.

That was back then. Now, after 2016, I see the lives of other immigrants become more precarious and wanted to do something about it. In 2016, I saw Trump get elected. Symbolically, I think someone of my stature and my life experience running for office is just such a legislative middle finger to Trump and his agenda. It doesn’t get more anti-Trump.

When this seat fell open, why did you decide to contest?

I’d worked in a lot of different roles by then. I had worked with the Attorney General’s office, in the City Council, for the Governor. I had this experience. When the opportunity came up, I had already been building towards this and people knew I had been working on these issues. When the seat opened up, it was like the political stars had aligned. It was the perfect time for someone with my history, with my career and accomplishments. I felt like if I waited, I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself for not doing this for my community, but also I didn’t know whether this opportunity would come up in the next five-ten years. It was politically strategic.

I also think that people have seen me fighting this fight for justice for immigrant communities in different roles around Queens for so long. The only difference is now not doing it as an agent for the government but as a representative of the community at a higher level.

According to the US Census Bureau, Queens is one of the most diverse counties in the US with 132 languages spoken and the second highest proportion of foreign-born residents. How was it growing up in Queens, was there a lot of solidarity and community around immigrants and undocumented people?

Nobody knew that I was undocumented when I was growing up. We never spoke about it. Some of my friends knew that I grew up in poverty but most did not. I did have one cheerleader though, she was one of my friend’s moms, Marilyn, she was a retired corrections officer. She was one of my biggest cheerleaders, encouraging me to apply to college and made sure I went to college and got involved.

When I decided to run, she was one of the first people I told. I bring this up because I think Queens, growing up where I did, allowed me to build my own version of a coalition. Marilyn and I connected not because of our shared race, or income, or status – she’s African American, I’m Latina; she’s middle-class, I was low income; and she’s a citizen. We were brought together because she believed in me, she saw the drive, and I think that’s true of most people in Queens – people share the love and give support to one other.

Who is supporting you? Who is joining your campaign and talking to you when you’re out stumping?

So when I’m walking down the street, people have started to recognise me and it’s in the unlikeliest of places. First, people in the community know me as an agent of the government so now they’re seeing me fight for the same sort of justice in a new light. I think young people, especially women, are excited and showing up at fundraisers. I had a mother come up to me with her five-year-old daughter telling me she brought her to my fundraiser because she wanted her to grow up seeing strong women running for office. I had a 16-year-old come up to me to say that her mother and friends had told her about me and she wanted to know how she could help. So a lot of everyday people but also a lot of young people and women excited and I’m excited to see them.

I’ll end with my favourite story. I was at the butcher’s office and the woman in front of me turned around and said “You’re Catalina Cruz. I saw you on Univision.” She stops and turns to my mother, and says “Congratulations, you must be proud. Thanks for lending her to us.”

Apart from immigration, what do you see as the primary concerns in your district and the state? What are you going to get started on on day one?

Immigration is inextricably tied to all issues that people face, and if your status is precarious it affects whether you have access to basic rights.

First, ensuring that the Dream Act finally gets passed. It needs to be a package to ensure that the state is an actual sanctuary. That means, to me, drivers licenses for all, investment in education and English as a second language resources for new immigrants. We also need to legislate a way for state officials not to hand over immigrant’s information. (For context, in New York State, many of whom get caught and detained because of improper status or immigration papers, do so while driving and when asked by police to show their drivers license.)

Second, fix major issues with the transit agency in the State. For many immigrants who are on hourly waged jobs, an unreliable system leaves you one train delay away from losing your job and livelihood. I also want to focus on affordable housing, school overcrowding, and healthcare.

source: https://thewire.in/world/interview-dreamer-catalina-cruzs-legislative-middle-finger-to-trump

WCBS Radio: Councilman Dromm: DOE Needs To Let Parents Know Kids Don’t Have To Take State Exams

 

Yesterday morning, I joined Council Member Daniel Dromm#JacksonHeightsPeopleforPublicEducation and Queens community groups to once again call attention to the Dept of Education’s failure to inform parents of their right to #OptOut of having their children take the standardized tests- which have no real relationship with a child’s success and negatively impact immigrant children and low-income communities. #Corona #Elmhurst#JacksonHeights — at United States Post Office (Jackson Heights, Queens).

QNS: Candlelight vigil in Jackson Heights honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy 50 years after his death

BY MADELINE NELSON

Residents of Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and Corona gathered on April 4 for a candlelight vigil to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.

Several community organizations and civil rights attorney Catalina Cruz organized the vigil. More than 100 community members participated in this event, attended by a diverse cross-section of neighbors and local elected officials, including Congressman Joe Crowley and City Councilman Daniel Dromm.

“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and his openly gay right-hand man, Bayard Rustin, inspired my own activism for equality and justice in America,” said Dromm. “Near the end of his life, Dr. King recognized the intersectionality of many issues including ending the Vietnam War, the need for economic justice with the Poor People’s Campaign, and the struggle for union workers, which brought him to Memphis, where he was ultimately killed fighting for those rights. Today, we recognize the tremendous contributions Dr. King made to America.”

“50 years later we must recommit ourselves to protecting the progress made by Dr. King and building upon his incredible legacy,” Cruz said. “I am heartened to see so many neighbors and members of our community come out to honor his memory, and stand together ready to push back against those who wish to divide us and thwart our efforts for a more just society.”

To close the community gathering, Jackson Heights resident Maurice Clayton led the attendees in a rendition of “We Shall Overcome.”

source: http://qns.com/story/2018/04/05/candlelight-vigil-jackson-heights-honors-dr-martin-luther-king-jr-s-legacy-50-years-death/

Jackson Heights Patch: Queens Vigil To Honor MLK On 50th Anniversary Of His Death Catalina Cruz, the first Dreamer to run for office in New York State, will lead the ceremony in Jackson Heights

April 1965: Dr Martin Luther King (1929 – 1968) addresses civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

By Danielle Woodward

JACKSON HEIGHTS, QUEENS — Politicians, activist groups and locals alike will gather in Jackson Heights on Wednesday to honor civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. exactly 50 years after he was slain on the balcony of his Tennessee hotel room.

Supporters will pay tributes to Dr. King and his legacy with song and prayer in a candlelight vigil spearheaded by New York State Assembly Candidate Catalina Cruz.

Cruz, who became a U.S. citizen after moving to the country from Columbia as a child, is the first dreamer to run for office in New York State. Come September, she hopes to represent Jackson Heights and the other Queens neighborhoods that make up the Assembly’s 39th district.

From growing up an immigrant to campaigning as a politician, Cruz told Patch Dr. King and his messages of peace and equal rights have always stuck with her.

“I grew up as a Dreamer, so for me the idea of communities fighting for the American dream has always been at the forefront of what I do for a living,” she said.

Cruz said she organized the candlelight MLK vigil to promote a message of racial equality and unity in Jackson Heights and its surrounding neighborhoods that would “help keep (Dr. King’s) dream alive in Queens.”

“We still need to remind people that we’re strong, we’re together and we’re going to live through Dr. King’s legacy,” she said.

Dr. King was fatally shot on the balcony outside his second-floor room at a Memphis hotel on April 4, 1968, just a day after he spoke at a rally in the Mason Temple. The Queens vigil marking the 50th anniversary of his assassination will be held at the Jackson Heights Post Office.

Cruz will be joined at the ceremony, starting at 7 p.m., by City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and members of the Jackson Heights Beatification Group, Jackson Heights Green Alliance, Newtown Civic Association, Elmhurst Preservation and Cemeteries Society, New Visions Democratic Club and Friends of Diversity Plaza.

Each group – as well as members of the public – will get the chance to talk about Dr. King and what his legacy meant to them, Cruz said.

“It’s a beautiful opportunity to bring everyone together to honor MLK’s life,” she said.

Source: https://patch.com/new-york/jackson-heights-elmhurst/queens-vigil-honor-mlk-50th-anniversary-his-death

Jackson Heights Post: Jackson Heights Community to Remember MLK on 50th Anniversary of His Death

April 4, 2018 By Tara Law

The Jackson Heights community will mark the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination with a candlelight vigil tonight. 

Civic groups, Councilmember Daniel Dromm and NY Assembly candidate Catalina Cruz will lead a service honoring King’s legacy at the Jackson Heights Post Office at 78-02 37th Ave. at 7 p.m.

Cruz, the former chief of staff for Councilmember Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, is the first DREAMer to run for office in New York state. She is running to fill Francisco Moya’s vacated seat representing the 39th Assembly District (Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona). She will compete against former Moya staffer Aridia Espinal in the Democratic primary for the State Assembly on September 13th.

The event is also being organized by Jackson Heights Beautification Group, Jackson Heights Green Alliance, New Visions Democratic Club, Newtown Civic Association, Elmhurst History & Cemeteries Preservation Society and Friends of Diversity Plaza.

All ages are invited to participate. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own candles.

source: https://jacksonheightspost.com/jackson-heights-community-remember-mlk-50th-anniversary-death

New York Magazine: Meet Catalina Cruz, the Queens Dreamer Running for Office

“I’m a punk when it comes to pain,” admits Catalina Cruz. “I’ll cry from a paper cut.” These are not sentiments one would expect from someone entering the pummeling world of American politics, but Cruz is currently standing in front of the Queens establishment where she got her ears pierced 24 years ago. She peers through the window at the baubles on display before continuing on, her rain boots making a muffled clomp on the sidewalks of Jackson Heights — one of several neighborhoods that comprise District 39, the vacant Assembly seat of which Cruz hopes to fill after the primary election this September.

Cruz, who became a U.S. citizen in 2009, is currently the first Dreamer to run for office in New York state; if she wins, she will be the third Dreamer to ever take office in this country (after Wendy Carrillo of California and Ruben Kihuen of Nevada). In 1992, at the age of 9, she boarded a plane in Medellin, where she could see Pablo Escobar’s jail from the sidewalk of her childhood home. She arrived at JFK accompanied by her single mother, wearing her favorite outfit — a “pant situation with a shirt that had too many ruffles; it was not cute” — and carrying a tourist visa set to expire in six months. Growing up, this stretch of 82nd Street is where she came to tap into the Colombian community vibe. First stop: Las Americas Bakery, established in 1976 but since closed, never again to grace the world with their buñuelos. Then there’s the butcher across the street that currently sells not meat but empanadas. And, just up the block, the construction site where a teenage Cruz saw Blade and Charlie’s Angelsin the movie theater that used to be there. It’s now slated to be a Target. “I think it does something to the soul of the district,” Cruz says. “You’re not going to get empanadas at Target.”

Our ultimate destination is the corner of 82nd and Roosevelt Avenue under the elevated 7 train where, during her first few years in New York, Cruz’s mother handed out restaurant fliers for around $40 a day. Just last week, Cruz saw a woman on that very corner doing that very thing, and she couldn’t help but stop and talk to her. “She told me she’s Ecuadorian. She told me she does this Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, and they pay her $13 an hour, which is above minimum wage.” Cruz raises an eyebrow. “She’s doing this for an immigration attorney, so you would hope they’re going to pay her at least minimum wage, but she still can’t make ends meet.” The woman’s name was Rosa, which also happens to be Cruz’s mother’s name.

Under the gray drizzle, though, Rosa is nowhere to be seen today. Cruz heads east, to La Pequeña Colombia, her favorite restaurant as a child. “We couldn’t afford to have big parties,” she says. “So it’s your birthday? You come to La Pequeña Colombia. Somebody got married? You come to La Pequeña Colombia. Somebody got a christening? You come to La Pequeña Colombia. That is where you come for everything.” Today, we come for sangrias, served at the bar by a sweet-faced guy named Daniel, who just so happens to also be from Medellin. Cruz sticks out her hand and goes into candidate mode.

“Catalina Cruz, yo soy candidata para la asamblea en este distrito, la primera Dreamer y la primera Colombiana, si Dios permite.”

Daniel seems to like that idea. He tells her he’d like help with the prostitutes on his block. “Mucha suerte!”

“Gracias!”

She turns back to me with a smile. “He lives in the district, so you gotta get voters where you can!”

As an undocumented worker, Cruz’s mother cleaned offices, sold tamales, and took her daughter with her to collect cans in parts of Queens where she hoped they wouldn’t run into anyone they knew. Cruz remembers struggling to buy a gallon of milk and learning English by watching ER(“So we can blame my lack of accent on George Clooney. Will that get me an endorsement from him and Amal? I’m just saying!”). It wasn’t until her grandmother died — and they didn’t go back to Colombia to bury her — that Cruz understood what her immigration status really meant: in order to stay in America, she could actually never leave. “I have a friend who calls it ‘The Hispanic Panic,’” she says. “But it was a real thing for me” — especially after her brother and two sisters were born with American citizenship. “I always felt like I have to do everything I can not to get deported so that I’m never separated from them,” Cruz says. “I’d take care of the kids while my mom was cleaning offices at night, and I used to think, ‘What if something happens and she doesn’t come home?’”

Thanks to a helpful guidance counselor (who informed her that CUNY was granting undocumented students in-state tuition), an American high-school sweetheart (who proposed while she was still studying at John Jay, and whom she married in 2003), and an immigration lawyer (who helped her apply for citizenship pro bono), Cruz attended law school as an American citizen and with the intent of helping families like her own. Then one day, on a recommendation from Judge Jenny Rivera, she got a call from the office of Cuomo, then Attorney General, asking if she’d be interested in an internship. That position turned into another with Cuomo’s civil-rights bureau, which turned into a job as counsel in the division of immigrant affairs at the Department of Labor (fun fact: she implemented IDNYC), which led her back to serve as director of (now Governor) Cuomo’s Exploited Workers Task Force. She finally landed as chief of staff for New York council member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, whose resignation in 2017 ultimately led to the reshuffling that’s left the 39th District Assembly seat open. City council member Danny Dromm  — an important mentor and Jackson Heights neighbor — told Cruz she should run. “It was not a road I was expecting,” she tells me, “but these seats rarely open, so I kind of did a gut check. I went and asked my mom, and her reaction was, “Did we go through everything we went through for you to decide to be mediocre now?’” Today, she says, her job is “being the candidate.”

Her platform — including the old standbys of affordable housing, better schools, more reliable transportation — builds on a legacy that could be pretty accurately summarized as ridding the city of assholes (or, as Cruz puts it: “starts with “a,” ends with “holes”). She’s gone after “notario fraudsters,” who charge exorbitant prices for phony immigration advice. She helped get ICE out of Rikers, where undocumented immigrants were being deported before they’d been proven guilty of whatever crime led to their arrest (“There can’t be double punitive repercussions for simply being arrested”). And she’s fought labor trafficking and employers engaged in the sort of wage theft her own mom experienced.

Cruz is also one of a slew of women — and especially women of color — whose runs, collective and individual, are a way to give the legislative middle finger to President Trump. “I mean, if we have to say his name, yes, number 45,” she says, that eyebrow on the rise again. In fact, Trump’s ascendency has in some ways been constructive, leading Cruz to finally go public with her story of being undocumented and providing a clear counterpoint to her own campaign. “It’s helped me show people the need for progressive leadership and gain support from unlikely places,” she tells me. “Look at what he did during his State of the Union speech, where he was basically equating MS-13 with every Latino immigrant and using the very real pain of two families losing their children to gain some sympathy for his stance.” And when he said that Americans were Dreamers too? “I wanted to throw my shoe at the TV. ”

As Trump continues to attack DACA and tout his wall, Cruz continues to canvas the neighborhoods of Queens. “On the day of the election, I realized that half of the country hated me and everything I stood for,” she says. But her work should resonate in District 39, where almost half of the population is foreign-born, over 100 languages are spoken and, come to think of it, it’s not entirely implausible for empanadas to make it onto the menu at Target. In the meantime, Cruz’s mom is on her way to becoming an American. “I was able to petition my mom when I became a citizen,” she says, proudly. “And it was because of my ability to petition for my mom that our family’s still together. So when Trump talks about ‘chain migration,’ I am that family reunification. I am that family.”

source: https://www.thecut.com/2018/03/meet-catalina-cruz-queens-dreamer-running-for-office.html

Voices of New York: Community Pushback Limits Development in Jackson Heights

More than 400 people attended the public hearing on a proposed expansion of a building on 82nd Street in Jackson Heights, Queens. (Photo by Javier Castaño via Queens Latino)

The communities of Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, in Queens, scored a partial victory on Tuesday against the developers who demolished a historic theater on 82nd Street near Elmhurst Hospital to erect a 10-story building, currently under construction.

Sun Equity Partners and Heskel Group purchased the corner lot for $27 million, and now want to add three stories to the structure. At a hearing held in Elmhurst Hospital to protest the expansion, and after two hours of testimonies, 24 members of Community Board 4 voted against the developers. Four members abstained, and none voted in favor.

The first person to speak was Catalina Cruz, a resident of the area who is running for the Assembly to represent District 39. “This is a hazardous construction that fails to reflect our community, increases traffic and puts residents in danger,” said Cruz, who participated in a protest against the construction earlier in the day.

TimesLedger: Activists rejoice as Community Board 4 votes against proposal for Target, housing structure in Elmhurst

Photo by Mark Hallum

Developers at a site in Elmhurst may not be getting the zoning change they need for a 13-story housing complex and Target location if Community Board 4 and anti-gentrification groups have the final say.

The advisory board at Tuesday’s meeting voted against the variance to allow Sun Equity Partners and Heskel Group to build an additional three floors on the proposal site and asked that the city accept their recommendation to downzone the area to further prevent the development from happening.

Catalina Cruz, who also spoke at the Tuesday meeting, held a press conference earlier in the day calling on CB4 to vote against the proposal.

Cruz is a Democratic state Assembly candidate and attorney running in for the seat vacated by Moya when he won the City Council seat left open by Julissa Ferreras-Copeland when she declined to run again.

“The proposed development for 40-31 82nd St. by Sun Equity Partners and Heskel Group is reckless and unsafe,” Cruz said at the press conference. “Seeking a zoning change to bring a massive 13-story, 120-unit building into the heart of the Elmhurst-Jackson Heights community demonstrates a lack of understanding of our neighborhoods, its needs, and what makes them special. I urge Community Board 4 to reject this proposed rezoning.”

Cruz also served as Ferreras-Copeland’s chief-of-staff.

source: https://www.timesledger.com/stories/2018/11/cb4target_2018_03_16_q.html

Queens Chronicle: CB 4 votes down 82nd Street rezoning pitch

Assembly candidate Catalina Cruz, at the podium, speaks out against the proposed The Shoppes at 82nd Street on Tuesday morning, hours before the CB 4 meeting. photo by Christopher Barca

They cheered and jeered, hooted and hollered, clapped and waved signs.

And by the time the clock struck 11 p.m. on Tuesday, the approximately 100 residents of Elmhurst and Jackson Heights who packed Elmhurst Hospital Center’s auditorium went home satisfied.

After two straight hours of testimony from more than 50 members of the public — followed by 90 more minutes of talk amongst its members — Community Board 4 unanimously voted against a rezoning request that would allow for a 13-story, mixed-use development to rise at the confluence of 82nd Street, Ithaca Street and Baxter Avenue.

“I am voting no,” board member Sandra Munoz said. “I don’t want to be Long Island City. I don’t want to be Williamsburg.”

The controversial proposal known as The Shoppes at 82nd Street would include a 22,000-square-foot Target on the first floor, 2,000 square feet of community space, 128 subterranean parking spots and 120 units of housing — between 30 and 36 dwellings to be set aside as affordable housing units.

Earlier Tuesday, Cruz held a press conference outside the site of the proposed development. Alongside a handful of area civic leaders and community organizers, she called the Sun Equity Partners development “reckless and unsafe.”

“The proposed plan isn’t taking into account the community’s needs,” she said. “Developers need to be good neighbors. They need to talk to the community about the projects, but a lot of the folks here feel that this has not happened.”

Source: http://www.qchron.com/editions/central/cb-votes-down-nd-street-rezoning-pitch/article_7be43161-d1d5-5789-a9fc-99ae5bd85fe9.html

QNS: After major backlash over planned Jackson Heights tower, community board gives proposal the thumbs down

Photos by Angela Matua/QNS
Catalina Cruz, pictured above at podium, is the first local resident to speak out against the proposed development at the Community Board 4 public hearing on March 13th.

by Angela Matua

More than a hundred people packed a room at Elmhurst Hospital on March 13 to express their opposition to a proposed 13-story, mixed-use building on 82nd Street in Jackson Heights.

Sun Equity Partners and the Heskel Group purchased the property, the former Jackson Heights Cinema at 40-31 82nd St., for $27 million in 2016. The movie theater officially closed in 2014 after 90 years in business.

The developers presented their plan at a Community Board 4 meeting on Tuesday in the presence of angry Queens residents holding signs with phrases like “don’t target our community,” alluding to the Target that would anchor the building.

In the end, the board decided to vote against the proposal and to down-zone the site. Members said they would outline what they wanted to see on the site once they send their recommendations to the Department of City Planning.

source: http://qns.com/story/2018/03/15/major-backlash-planned-jackson-heights-tower-community-board-gives-proposal-thumbs/

Queens Tribune: Jackson Heights Protests Target Store Plan

Community activist Catalina Cruz and others protest the development plan.

BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Staff Writer

Jackson Heights residents and community leaders were upset to learn last year that a 23,580-square-foot Target chain store and an accompanying 13-story development would replace a longtime neighborhood movie theater shuttered in 2014.

Leaders from various local organizations—including the Jackson Heights Beautification Group, Friends of Diversity Plaza and the Jackson Heights Green Alliance—held a rally on Tuesday to oppose Sun Equity Partners and Heskel Group’s proposed development at 40-31 82nd St.

Catalina Cruz, a community activist who is running for Councilman Francisco Moya’s (D-East Elmhurst) assembly seat, stood with the community in support of their concerns.

“Most urgently, the placement of a large shopping center at this site will create major traffic-flow obstacles for ambulances needing access to Elmhurst Hospital, which is located only one block away,” said Cruz. “Emergency service vehicles are already frequently stuck in traffic along Baxter Avenue and Roosevelt Avenue. The development’s proposed 128-car parking garage, car elevators and truck loading docks will only exacerbate an already-bustling artery of our community that is in close proximity to one of the busiest hospitals in the city, if not the country. Traffic jams on these small local streets will greatly delay response times for EMS and jeopardize lives.”

Community Board 4 voted against a proposal for the Target store on Tuesday night.

Queens County Politics: Cruz, Ramos, Ocasio-Cortez Attend Tense Community Board Meeting On Rezoning

Catalina Cruz, candidate for the 39th Assembly District Seat

by Brandon Jordan 

Over 100 people went to a Community Board 4 meeting at Elmhurst Hospital yesterday that was filled with applause, boos, and heated discussion over $27 million mixed-use building called “The Shoppes at 82nd Street.”

The project, first announced in late 2016, would replace a closed movie theater between Roosevelt Avenue and Baxter Avenue, about a block from the hospital, in Jackson Heights. The 160,000 square-foot building includes space for chain stores, 120 units of housing, and a parking garage. One store, Target, announced a new store on the project’s ground floor that it plans to open in 2019. (Full disclosure: The author is a former Target employee).

Representatives of the developers behind the idea, including Sun Equity Partnership and Heskel Group, delivered a presentation about the project in front of a skeptical audience. No one applauded after they concluded.

What followed next was a series of speakers who spoke against the proposal and requested that the Community Board not recommend the idea. Not one person spoke in favor of the project.

Catalina Cruz, a Democratic candidate for the 39th Assembly District seat this September, spoke first and signaled her opposition to the project. She told Community Board members that traffic is a main concern using emergency vehicles traveling to the hospital as one example.

“In its current form, this proposal will negatively impact small businesses, become a magnet for traffic, [and], most importantly, it would jeopardize lives,” she said.

source: https://queenscountypolitics.com/2018/03/14/cruz-ramos-ocasio-cortez-attend-tense-community-board-meeting-rezoning/?platform=hootsuite

Target進駐 艾姆赫斯特反應兩極

卡塔利娜‧克魯茲等反對者13日在82街抗議Target進駐。(記者朱澤人╱攝影)

目標折扣店(Target)將進駐艾姆赫斯特82街商住綜合大樓,引起社區兩極反應。抗議者多次示威,批評該大型商場會毀掉社區小商家,第四社委會13日晚間也投票否決開發商加蓋,但附近華人商家期盼新商場引來人流,方便周圍居民生活。

開發商Sun Equity Partners在2016年以2700萬元買下82街40-31號電影院原址,蓋商住綜合大樓。按土地使用條例(zoning),該地只能蓋十層樓,而開發商日前提出變更條例蓋到13樓,以達90個出租單位的目標,底層仍保留給Target與零售店鋪。

Sun Equity代表13日晚間在第四社區委員會公聽會指出,平價屋有半數為統艙(studio),月租為1375元;兩到三家庭單位則會提供年收入約6萬1000元的家庭,而艾姆赫斯特居民收入中位數為4萬4000元,租金會符合市府對平價屋要求。

皇后區鄰居聯合會(Queens Neighborhoods United)成員阿里安娜‧馬丁尼茲(Arianna Martinez)表示,平價屋只是個幌子,該聯合會不反對平價屋,問題在開發商想加高三樓,就是為了騰出空間給Target的2萬3580平方呎新店。她說,「Target與開發商簽協議,禁止大樓內開藥妝品、超市、雜貨店來搶生意,也不准有影響品牌形象的按摩店、洗衣店、二手用品店等,讓小商家沒法在這新樓內開店。」

州眾議會39選區參選人卡塔利娜‧克魯茲(Catalina Cruz)13日與十多人舉行示威,她表示,羅斯福大道與82街沒任何大商場,主要是西語裔、華裔等少數族裔經營的小商家,將受Target新店衝擊。

第四社委會投票否決變更土地使用條例加蓋三樓,開發商得變更設計。克魯茲指出,這仍不影響Target進駐該樓,「我們會持續抗議,要求開方商開放零售空間開放給所有小商家,不要大型連鎖店」。

但周圍華人商家對Target表持支持,認為大型折扣店能帶來更高人流量,何嘗不是好事。82街「功夫茶」員工何Cindy住在艾姆赫斯特Ithaca街,她指出,華人較少在周圍消費,她買雜貨用品都是步行15分鐘到55大道交皇后大道的Target,「新分店開這裡肯定會引來更多華人逛街」。Baxter大道「長禧」中餐館老闆娘江Amy也說,顧客80%是西語裔,華人都喜歡往皇后大道方向買菜,期盼Target帶來人潮。

https://www.worldjournal.com/5468302/article-target進駐-艾姆赫斯特反應兩極/

Queens Latino: Edificio de la Calle 82 no podrá construir más pisos

Más de 400 personas acudieron a la audiencia pública sobre la expansión del edificio de la calle 82 en Jackson Heights, Queens. Fotos Javier Castaño

La comunidad de Jackson Heights y Elmhurst, en Queens, se anotó ayer un triunfo parcial en contra de la constructora que demolió el teatro histórico de la calle 82, cerca al Hospital Elmhurst,  y está construyendo un edificio de 10 pisos.

Sun Equity Partners y Heskel Group compraron esa esquina por 27 millones de dólares y ahora quieren construir tres pisos más. Después de dos horas de testimonios en el Hospital Elmhurst en contra de esta expansión, 24 miembros de la Junta Comunal 4 votaron en contra de las constructoras (4 miembros se abstuvieron de votar) y ninguno votó a favor.

El debate comenzó a las 7:15 de la noche de este martes y terminó a las 9:15 cuando los miembros de esta junta Ingrid Gómez y Sandra Muñoz tomaron el micrófono y dijeron que votarían en contra de la construcción de estos tres pisos adicionales. Damian Vargas, presidente de CC4, trató de calmar a más de 400 personas que acudieron a la audiencia pública.

Todos los testimonios fueron en contra de esta expansión que tuvo el apoyo del BID de la Calle 82. La primera en hablar fue Catalina Cruz, residente del área y candidata a la Asamblea por el distrito 39. “Es una construcción peligrosa que no refleja nuestra comunidad, aumenta el tráfico y pone en peligro a sus residentes”, dijo Cruz, quien había protestado en las horas de la mañana en contra de esta edificación.

source: http://queenslatino.com/edificio-calle-82-junta-comunal-4-queens-latinos-target/

El Diario: Hispanas dan la pelea para aumentar poder femenino en Albany

Candidata a la asamblea estatal, Catalina Cruz. FOTO: MARIELA LOMBARD / EL DIARIO NY

Catalina Cruz y Jessica Ramos, de origen colombiano, y Ari Espinal, de padres dominicanos, hace muchos años se dejaron tentar por el mundo político, pero hasta ahora habían preferido mirar los toros desde la barrera. Con currículos que muestran amplia experiencia en trabajo comunitario, elaboración de legislaciones, ayuda a los indocumentados y hasta labores en comunicaciones, estas tres hispanas decidieron empezar el 2018 lanzándose al ruedo.

Primera colombiana en la Asamblea

Y la meta de llevar mayor poder femenino a Albany también está presente en el Distrito 39 de Corona, Queens. Allí, la inmigrante Catalina Cruz, quien llegó a Nueva York en 1992 desde Medellín, cuando apenas tenía 9 años, está decidida a convertirse en la primera colombiana en alcanzar una alta posición política en la Asamblea. La exasesora de la exconcejal Julissa Ferreras, quien participó en la elaboración de leyes que ayudaron a penalizar a los falsos notarios, implementar el ID municipal y sacar a ‘La Migra’ de las cárceles, entre otras, insiste en que este es el momento para que a Albany lleguen más voces femeninas.

“Hay muy poquitas mujeres latinas en puestos políticos y el cuerpo legislativo no es representativo del número de mujeres que hay en los distritos, pero estamos viendo un cambio positivo que está llevando a mujeres que tenemos años luchando por nuestra comunidad a buscar cambios a nivel político, y tengo la esperanza de que vamos a ver más mujeres y que yo pueda estar allá. Si no, no me lanzaría”, advirtió la abogada, destacando que tras vivir 12 años como indocumentada, su elección sería un gancho certero contra el discurso de odio del presidente Donald Trump.

“Esta no es mi campaña, esta es la campaña de mi comunidad y en septiembre va a ser el votante el que va a poder mirar mi trabajo, mi historia, mi amor por mi comunidad y mi lucha por todos, porque no me estoy lanzando solamente para representar a los latinos, o a las mujeres, sino a todos los representantes de mi comunidad. A los votantes y a los no votantes; en mi distrito haymuchos que son indocumentados y hay gente que no puede votar”, afirmó Cruz sobre la contienda por la curul que dejó vacante el ecuatoriano Francisco Moya para sumarse al Concejo Municipal.

Pase lo que pase, esa silla significará una nueva voz femenina en la Asamblea, pues en la batalla por esa curul, Catalina Cruz enfrenta a otra mujer, Ary Espinal, quien fue asesora del antiguo ocupante de esa posición , y quien anunció hace unos días que recibió el respaldo oficial del Partido Demócrata para las elecciones especiales convocadas para el próximo 24 de abril, es decir que ella será la única candidata de ese partido que aparecerá en el tarjetón y luego de ese formalismo ocupará la silla en Albany.

source: https://eldiariony.com/2018/02/21/hispanas-dan-la-pelea-para-aumentar-poder-femenino-en-albany/

Medium: “Remove the Target Off Our Back” by Catalina Cruz

A Reckless Proposal for Rezoning to Allow a 13 Story Luxury Condo Building and Target Shopping Center Will Endanger our Elmhurst-Jackson Heights-Corona Community

 by Catalina Cruz

Growing communities are healthy communities — and new developments are often a part of that growth. But they need to be smart. They need to be responsible. The proposed development for 40–31 82nd Street by Sun Equity Partners and Heskel Group is reckless and unsafe. Seeking a zoning change to bring a massive 13-story, 120-unit building into the heart of the Elmhurst-Jackson Heights-Corona community, demonstrates a lack of understanding of our neighborhoods, its needs, and what makes them special.

In its current form, this proposal is fatally flawed. Anchoring the construction project will be a Target shopping center on the bottom floors that will not only have a direct and negative impact on our small businesses, but also become a magnet for traffic congestion and further jeopardize pedestrian safety.

read more: https://medium.com/@CatalinaCruzNY/remove-the-target-off-our-backs-80407aaed54b

華社反開發公聽會 淪參選人造勢舞台

皇后區艾姆赫斯特82街商住綜合大樓將開目標折扣店(Target),引來社區強烈抗議。正逢今年開發案所在地多人參選,讓第四社區委員會就該建案舉行的土地公聽會變造勢舞台,帶來大批示威者砲轟該建案破壞社區與摧毀小商家,直到委員投票反對建案擴張才滿意離開。

開發商Sun Equity Partners代表13日在公聽會上指出,82街40-31號建案按法律可蓋十層樓商住綜合樓,77個市價公寓不含任何平價屋。申請改變區畫條例後,可改建為13層樓、120個公寓單位,其中抽出30%作為平價屋。至於底層的Target只有2萬2000平方呎,不是大型百貨商場。

現場聽眾逾200人,清一色是反對者,輪番批評建案造成交通堵塞、平價屋根本不平價,以及摧毀當地小商家。角逐州眾議會39選區參選人卡塔利娜‧克魯茲(Catalina Cruz)率先發言,指該建案將造成同條街的艾姆赫斯特醫院救護車塞在Baxter大道,可能讓需急救的病患喪生。

多位華人也上台表達反對,82街的禮品店張老闆表示,已在此開店十多年,靠著這小店養活全家,Target進駐社區不但會讓交通打結,更會讓周圍商家倒閉。華裔小商家美美指出,許多像她一樣英語不好的新移民靠著小本生意維生,沒法和大型商場相抗,更何況商場蓋好,周圍店租飆漲,店家都得被迫搬遷。

社委會委員楊旻雯指出,公聽會開四個小時到晚間11時多,仍有許多示威者守著,「虎視眈眈盯著我們委員投票」,最後委員幾乎全反對變更區畫,其他有疑慮的也只投棄權票。艾姆赫斯特聯合會成員黃友興則說,反對者理由充足,加上碰上政壇各派角力,此建案前途多舛。

https://www.worldjournal.com/5473778/article-華社反開發公聽會-淪參選人造勢舞台/

El EspectLa “soñadora” colombiana que hace historia en la política de Nueva York

EN VILO PROGRAMA QUE PROTEGE DE DEPORTACIÓN A JÓVENES A EE.UU.
 7 Mar 2018 – 9:00 PM ÁLVARO CORZO V.

Catalina Cruz nació en Medellín y vivió como indocumentada gran parte de su vida. Gracias al programa que protege a los “dreamers” se convirtió en abogada y hoy aspira a la Asamblea de Nueva York.

No somos pandilleros ni mucho menos criminales como dice Trump, somos gente honesta y trabajadora, gente que sueña con una mejor vida, un mejor país, pero sobre todo un mejor futuro.

Llenas de amor propio, así son las palabras que salen de boca de Catalina Cruz al hablar de Donald Trump, el controvertido magnate que tiene hoy una cruz sobre la espalda de cada inmigrante indocumentado en Estados Unidos.

El miedo obliga a actuar y eso es lo que está pasando en todo el país con nuestra comunidad, nos ha unido y obligado a preguntarnos: ¿Qué vamos a hacer para protegernos?

Nacida en Medellín, Catalina dejó Colombia en los 90 siguiendo los pasos de sus padres, que soñaban con una mejor vida lejos de la violencia y la falta de oportunidades en nuestro país.

Era 1992 y junto a su madre llegó a Nueva York para empezar de cero. Sin saberlo y en menos de seis meses quedaron indocumentadas, sus visas habían vencido. Su destino desde entonces, levantar la cabeza y abrirse camino.

Su madre, doña Rosa, se puso el overol y trabajó en cuanto pudo: vendiendo empanadas, repartiendo volantes, limpiando oficinas, casas, restaurantes, lo que fuera. No solo el idioma, sino el no tener documentos hacían las cosas muy distantes de lo que habían soñado. Por lo menos en un principio.

“Vas creciendo y lo entiendes todo. Cada vez más claro. Comprendes que un día cualquiera puedes llegar a tu casa y a tu mamá se la llevó Inmigración. Ese era mi miedo de todos los días. Eso te hace crecer a la brava, te hace valorar lo que tienes”.

Más allá de su condición de indocumentada, Catalina pudo acudir a la escuela pública en Queens, un derecho que hoy Trump quiere quitar a los que despectivamente llama “ilegales”. Desde entonces supo que su educación era su tiquete a una mejor vida.

“A mi mamá le robaban el salario, la echaban del trabajo sin pagarle, era abuso tras abuso. Como miles, fuimos víctimas de notarios falsos. Nos robaban aquí y allí sin poder quejarnos con nadie. Daba mucha rabia y frustración”, recuerda.

Como “soñadora” logro entrar a la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad John Jay de la Universidad pública de Nueva York, donde fue presidenta de la Asociación de Estudiantes Hispanos.

Ver más: Todo lo que necesita saber para entender el lío de DACA

Al graduarse y especializarse en inmigración, representó a personas con asilo político y órdenes de deportación. Defendió inquilinos víctimas de caseros inescrupulosos. Luego de 14 años indocumentada y gracias a haberse casado con su novio, un ciudadano estadounidense, su miedo se sepultó y su vocación de servicio tomó un nuevo rumbo.

Tardó poco para que la talentosa abogada colombiana llegara al equipo del gobernador de Nueva York, Andrew Cuomo, ayudando al estado a convertirse en un ejemplo nacional en la lucha contra la explotación laboral.

En el Consejo de la ciudad fue parte del comité de inmigración y supervisó la implementación de la Iniciativa de Menores No Acompañados así como el vital programa de tarjetas de identificación municipal para indocumentados en Nueva York (IDNYC). Y por si fuera poco, Catalina trabajó en la aplicación de la ley que sacó a la policía migratoria (ICE) de las cárceles de Nueva York.

Esta es la lucha en la que están muchas ciudades en todo Estados Unidos conocidas como “santuarios”. El objetivo es proteger, hoy más que nunca, a la comunidad inmigrante de los abusos y acoso de ICE, y romper estos lazos entre las autoridades federales de inmigración con nuestras policías locales son el primer paso para evitar estos abusos.

El 5 marzo se cumplía el plazo que dio Donald Trump al Congreso para definir la suerte de cerca de 700,000 “soñadores”, como son conocidos los jóvenes indocumentados que llegaron con sus padres a los Estados Unidos cuando eran menores de edad. A pesar de esto, las demandas interpuestas en cortes de Nueva York y California han impedido que el programa se suspenda.

Ver más: ¿Por qué no se acabó DACA el 5 de marzo?

El costo de acabar con DACA no solo tendrá un impacto económico gigantesco, sino un tremendo golpe moral a nuestra comunidad, explica la colombiana. Estos son jóvenes que como yo estudiamos fuerte contra toda adversidad por contribuir a este país, para hoy estar a punto de perderlo todo.

Así de oscura es la situación para los “soñadores” en EE.UU., Donald Trump quiere canjear el destino de estos jóvenes indocumentados por su agresiva agenda migratoria la cual incluye el controvertido muro fronterizo con México junto con el fin de la inmigración familiar o programa de reunificación familiar.

Entre tanto, una decisión de la Corte Suprema dejó vivo el programa de Acción Diferida (DACA) hasta que dos cortes de apelaciones decidan si el gobierno de Donald Trump violó la constitución al acabar con este programa migratorio implementado por el gobierno de Barack Obama.

Hoy la colombiana quiere llegar a la Asamblea de Nueva York, un escaño que la dejaría con las manos sobre el volante para luchar sin descanso por un Dream Act estatal, una ley que proteja a los soñadores en todo Nueva York.

Sin embargo la abogada, hoy de 34 años, sabe que no es nada fácil en estos días defender a la comunidad indocumentada. Son varios los líderes pro inmigrantes, voceros y activistas sociales que han sido acosados por las autoridades migratorias desde que Donald Trump llegó a la Casa Blanca.

Hoy día el que quiera alzar la voz por esta comunidad tiene que aceptar las consecuencias de este gobierno, explica Catalina quien vive en Queens, el condado con mayor número de colombianos en la Gran Manzana.

Durante el gobierno de Trump la guerra contra los indocumentados ha sido frontal. Cada día aproximadamente se arrestan 372 indocumentados en todo el país. Es decir en su primer año de gobierno 136.174 indocumentados quedaron tras las rejas dejando a miles de familias a la deriva.

Lo triste, explica la colombiana, es que cada vez son más los inmigrantes sin antecedentes penales los que están siendo arrestados por ICE, aquellos que como su familia siempre han hecho el bien, gente con raíces en la comunidad, con negocios, gente que aporta al país.

Entre tanto, el presidente Trump sigue haciendo gala de un populismo barato, como lo llama Catalina, al vender de una y otra forma la idea que los inmigrantes son delincuentes, que roban los trabajos de los estadounidenses y que lo único que quieren es aprovecharse del sistema.

Nunca pensé que su gobierno llegara a ser tan cruel y fuerte como ha sido, esta ha sido la peor persecución que hemos vivido. Son miles de familias las que han sido separadas, gente que no ha cometido una falta, muchos como yo, que llegaron cuando niños sin saber lo que era una frontera ni mucho menos una ciudadanía.

Ver más: Trump, el muro y los soñadores

La cifras hablan por si solas, el arresto de inmigrantes indocumentados sin antecedentes penales se ha multiplicado más de 200 %. Primero llegaron las redadas masivas, luego el fin de programas migratorios como del Estatus de Protección Temporal (TPS) que obliga a la salida de más de 300.000 inmigrantes de Estados Unidos, siguió DACA y el destino de miles de “soñadores”, ahora se viene la guerra contra la inmigración legal atacando la inmigración familiar.

“No hemos tocado fondo, creo que se viene mucho más, por eso tenemos que estar preparados como oficiales electos, como líderes sociales y sobre todo como comunidad”, concluye la colombiana.

Hoy, con el cuero duro de tanto batallar por su comunidad indocumentada y con una vocación nata, Catalina se perfila como la nueva sangre política de la comunidad inmigrante en Nueva York. El próximo 13 de septiembre la joven abogada, que representa al partido Demócrata, tendrá la oportunidad de convertirse en la primera colombiana en llegar a un escaño clave de la política del estado de Nueva York.

source: https://www.elespectador.com/tema-del-dia/la-sonadora-colombiana-que-hace-historia-en-la-politica-de-nueva-york-articulo-743168

City Limits: Voters in Queens Assembly District Could See a Rarity in September: A Contested Race!

Voters of District 39 could have another choice to make in this year’s Democratic primary, which is held the September before the November general election that decides who represents the district in the term beginning in January 2019.

Espinal is likely to face Catalina Cruz, the former Chief of Staff to Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, who held the 21st Council District seat prior to Moya.

The process of running for office is expensive, time-consuming, and complicated by the fact that potential candidates for any Assembly district need to acquire 500 signatures to run in a party’s primary or 1,500 to run as an independent. To be valid, these signatures must come from a registered voter who resides in the district and who has not already signed a petition for someone else. And if the candidate is hoping to run under a party affiliation, that signer must also be enrolled in the party. It’s an arduous task for those without the resources of established candidates, and one that can be quickly undone, as occurred last year.

Neither Espinal nor Cruz had many resources on hand at the time of their January report to the state Board of Elections: Espinal had $33,000 and Cruz just over $21,000.

It’s not clear how much issues will matter in the race. A policy paper circulated by the Espinal campaign lists as a first priority building new school capacity to reduce overcrowding in Corona, and commits to ending all use of temporary trailers. Cruz is emphasizing fixing the MTA: She advocates breaking the transit agency into smaller parts and giving New York City direct control of the system within its borders.

read more: https://citylimits.org/2018/02/27/voters-in-queens-assembly-district-could-see-a-rarity-in-april-a-contested-race/

Queens County Politics: Catalina Cruz Places Community First In State Assembly Run

by Brandon Jordan

When Governor Andrew Cuomo recently called for a special election in Queens’ 39th Assembly District, Catalina Cruz didn’t think too much about it. That is until she received a phone call.

“One of my greater mentors and supporters came to me and said, ‘This is something you should consider. I’ll love to support you, and I think you’ll be fantastic for this. How do we get you to do this?’” Cruz said.

She weighed the stress of running as a candidate and consulted her family for guidance. After some thought, she made the decision to run as a potential Democratic nominee. The district covers neighborhoods such as Corona, Jackson Heights, and Elmhurst.

Cruz, a lawyer, is one of two women, the other being Ari Espinal, running for the seat last held by Francisco Moya, who vacated the seat after his successful run for the city council.

While Cruz never held public office before, she does have government experience. She advised the New York City Council on immigration issues from 2014 to 2015. She worked under Andrew Cuomo to address labor and immigrant issues in the state. Cruz also served as chief of staff for former City Councilmember Julissa Ferreras-Copeland until last year.

If elected as a State Assemblymember, Cruz is eager to address problems in the district, including immigration. The issue is important to her as she came to the United States as an undocumented immigrant.

In 1992, Cruz, and her mother, arrived from Colombia to the United States. While growing up in New York, she saw the consequences of living undocumented, such as avoiding the police and constant wage theft.

While she secured her status through a partner, she never forgot the experiences in her upbringing. That’s why she wants to address immigration—especially with Donald Trump in the White House.

“There’s so much more that is needed,” she said. “Especially with more attacks coming from Washington DC. As [the federal government] takes away the rights of immigrants, New York needs to step up and say, ‘we’re going to protect immigrants.’”

She proposed driver’s licenses for every immigrant to help undocumented immigrants as one example lawmakers can advocate. Cruz also favors making New York a sanctuary state, which would ensure all Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are denied the ability to detain immigrants.

Cruz elaborated on other issues she wants addressed in the district, including better transportation for residents and access to affordable housing. She favored creating more STEM programs for children to ensure economic success.

While the special election date for the seat will happen in April, the choice of the Democratic nominee is not up to the voters. Instead the candidate is chosen by party leaders.

Ari Espinal received key endorsements from party officials this week, she will get the Democratic Party line in the special election. Despite this, Cruz said she would continue her campaign to pitch voters she can help represent them.

“It unfortunately creates a situation where the voter cannot pick. I am going to go for the primary in September. I am going to make sure voters see my vision, see my accomplishments, see my love for our districts, and they get to choose,” said Cruz.

She recalled how Ferreras-Copeland always listened to her constitutes whether in the supermarket or hair salon. She admired that quality and wanted residents to know she would be as open as Ferreras-Copeland.

Cruz noted she did not want her campaign to focus on a party or even herself. Rather, she wanted her campaign as a symbol on the community.

“I want to make sure everyone who steps into that polling site has heard from me and that I listened to them. So when they choose me, they’re making the right choice,” Cruz said.

read more: https://queenscountypolitics.com/2018/02/23/catalina-cruz-places-community-first-state-assembly-run/

Queens Ledger: Two candidates emerge to to fill vacant Assembly seat

Two former staffers to local elected officials are vying to fill a vacant seat in the state Assembly.

When former Assemblyman Francisco Moya won the election for City Council, his seat became one of 11 vacancies in Albany. Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo called a special election for April 24 to fill those seats.

The Democratic Party will decide who will run in the special election, while the other candidate will have to wait until the September primary to make their case to voters.
Catalina Cruz, who served as chief of staff to former Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, has also jumped into the race. An attorney by trade, Cruz has worked for the City Council and the Cuomo administration in various roles.

She is also a Dreamer. Cruz came to the United States in 1992 with her single mother, and has been undocumented for more than a decade.

In a statement, Cruz said she is running for office to give a voice to those who have not been heard in government.

“I am running to fix the MTA, to invest in our public schools, to advocate for immigrants and the LGBT community, and to make New York more affordable,” she said.

The race can be seen as a proxy battle between two former competitors. Moya and Ferreras-Copeland faced off in 2009 City Council race. Ferreras-Copeland won the seat, and one year later Moya was elected to the Assembly.

After serving two terms, Ferreras-Copeland decided not to run for re-election, citing a desire to be closer to her family. Moya defeated former councilman and state senator Hiram Monserrate for the coveted seat.

“I am proud of the coalition we are building, my vision for the future and my experience in getting things done,” Cruz said.

Read more: Queens Ledger – Two candidates emerge to to fill vacant Assembly seat

http://www.queensledger.com/view/full_story/27540795/article-Two-candidates-emerge-to-to-fill-vacant-Assembly-seat?

Queens Chronicle: Special election to take place April 24

Gov. Cuomo on Monday announced a special election will take place April 24 to fill the Assembly seat vacated by now-Councilman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights), along with 10 other open Assembly and Senate posts across the state. Moya gave up his Assembly seat when he won the race to succeed former Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. He beat former state Sen. Hiram Monserrate in a hotly contested primary.

Catalina Cruz, Ferreras-Copeland’s former chief of staff, and Aridia Espinal, a district leader and former Moya staffer, have filed to run for the position — setting up a proxy of sorts of the 2009 race when the ex-councilwoman handily defeated the former assemblyman.

That special election was held to fill the Council seat vacated by Monserrate after he was elected to the state Senate in November 2008.

The state’s Board of Elections website at press time had no information on how much money Cruz or Espinal had raised for their respective campaigns.

Espinal was endorsed by Moya Monday.

According to published reports, Cruz has the support of Democratic leaders in Queens and across New York City.

http://www.qchron.com/editions/western/special-election-to-take-place-april/article_cbbbaeef-e7f3-5c54-8d38-894bac7b2851.html

Jackson Heights Post: Special Election to Fill Moya’s Seat to Take Place April 24, Two Candidates Have Come Forward

Feb. 6, 2018 By Tara Law

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that a special election will take place for the 11 vacant seats in the state legislature— including Francisco Moya’s vacated Assembly seat—on April 24.

Two Democrats have already come forward to vie for Moya’s vacated seat.

Catalina Cruz, Ferreras-Copeland’s former Chief of Staff, has announced she wants the position.

Cruz, a 35-year-old Jackson Heights resident, immigrated from Colombia with her mother when she was 9 years old, and was undocumented for 10 years. She is an attorney and the president of the Latino Lawyers Association of Queens County.

Cruz’s priorities include MTA reform; establishing single payer healthcare through the state; building new schools and investing in STEM programs; and enacting a state DREAM Act.

“I want to give a voice to those who all too often have not been heard in government,” Cruz said in announcing her run. “I am running to fix the MTA, to invest in our public schools, to advocate for immigrants and the LGBT community, and to make New York more affordable.”

source: https://jacksonheightspost.com/special-election-fill-moyas-seat-take-place-april-24-two-candidates-come-forward

Queens Tribune: Election To Fill Moya Seat Scheduled For April

BY NATHAN DUKE

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that a special election to fill 11 vacant seats in the state legislature—including the assembly seat previously held by Councilman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights). In November, Moya won the race for the City Council’s District 21 seat, replacingJulissa Ferreras-Copeland, who opted not to run for re-election.

Two Democrats have already announced their bids for Moya’s seat—Catalina Cruz, the former chief of staff for Ferreras-Copeland, and Aridia Espinal, a former Moya staffer and district leader. Moya has endorsed Espinal.

Cruz—who has listed fixes to the MTA, investments for public schools and advocacy for immigrants and the LGBT community as campaign priorities—issued a statement regarding Cuomo’s announcement for the April special election.

“Unfortunately, the special election process for the state Assembly does not allow for Democratic primary voters to decide who represents them on the Democratic Party ballot line,” Cruz said.

source: http://queenstribune.com/election-fill-moya-seat-scheduled-april/

QNS: Cuomo announces special election for April to fill former Queens Assemblyman Moya’s seat

by Angela Matua

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Feb. 5 that he would hold a special election on April 24 to fill 11 vacant seats in the state Legislature — including the Queens Assembly seat formerly occupied by Francisco Moya.

Moya was elected to City Council to succeed Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, who announced last year that she would not run for re-election, represented the 39th Assembly District, which encompasses Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights.

Cuomo could have called a special election as early as Jan. 1 and was criticized by local groups earlier last month for not doing so. Critics said the vacant seats would leave millions of New Yorkers without a representative and during a time period when the state budget is being discussed.

Catalina Cruz, the former chief of staff for Ferreras-Copeland is running to fill Moya’s Assembly seat. The 35-year-old lawyer graduated from CUNY Law School and is a DREAMer. She was brought to the United States from Colombia when she was 9 years old. Her platform will include improving public transportation, increasing affordable housing and protecting immigrants.

“I want to give a voice to those who all too often have not been heard in government,” she said in a statement. “I am running to fix the MTA, to invest in our public schools, to advocate for immigrants and the LGBT community, and to make New York more affordable.”

source: http://qns.com/story/2018/02/05/cuomo-announces-special-election-april-fill-former-queens-assemblyman-moyas-seat/

El Borde: La “Dreamer” colombiana que se abre camino político en Nueva York

Catalina Cruz es una mujer latina, colombiana e inmigrante que estuvo indocumentada hasta hace unos años. Catalina estudió derecho, alternó la academia con trabajo, ha defendido durante una década a la comunidad hispana y hoy en día es una de las precandidatas a la Asamblea de Nueva York.

Su postulación sonaría normal si no fuera porque estamos en la era Trump y ella reúne en un solo paquete todo lo que la actual administración ha atacado. Si gana sería, además, la primera colombiana en ocupar este cargo.

Ella se define como una “dreamer”, aunque no fue beneficiaria directa del  programa Daca (The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), su historia  es la misma de la de cientos de jóvenes que llegaron a este país cuando eran unos niños. Por esta razón su candidatura y posible cargo en la Asamblea promete impulsar el Dream Act estatal, que abriría una nueva posibilidad a los “dreamers” de permanecer en Estados Unidos de una manera digna.

Catalina habló con EL BORDE sobre su sueño de seguir traspasando fronteras.

¿Cómo llegó a los Estados Unidos?

Llegué el 7 de noviembre de 1992, cuando yo tenía 9 años. Me vine con mi mamá, llegamos de Medellín a vivir en Queens, Nueva York. Nos quedamos indocumentadas y así vivimos alrededor de 12 años. Nos tocó muy dificil. Mi mamá era asistente de enfermería en Colombia y acá lidió con todo tipo de oficios desde repartir volantes, limpiar casas, vender empanadas, etc. Hacíamos lo que fuera por poder pagar el alquiler y poner comida en la mesa.

Vivieron como muchos inmigrantes…

Vivimos como indocumentadas hasta que vimos la oportunidad de conseguir los papeles. Yo me volví residente. Pero  llegar allá fue muy duro, tuvimos que pagar muchas injusticias. A mi mamá le robaron la plata, la echaron sin pagarle lo que le debían, una vez se accidentó en un trabajo y actualmente vive con una lesión en su mano. Fuimos víctimas de notarios falsos. Nos robaron. Vivimos muchas injusticias.

Catalina y su mamá llegaron a Nueva York con el deseo de tener una vida mejor.

¿Eso la impulsó a estudiar derecho?

Apliqué como dreamer y pude estudiar psicología forense. Me tocaba trabajar y estudiar. Al final de esa carrera tuve la posibilidad de volverme residente y durante esa época conocí a un abogado que me representó gratuitamente y me demostró lo que es trabajar por la comunidad. Yo era de las que pensaba “el día que consiga papeles me voy a volver policía o psicóloga” pero cuando conocí a este  abogado decidí estudiar derecho y me especialicé en migración.  Representé personas con asilo político y orden de deportación. Me gradué y trabajé defendiendo inquilinos víctimas de caseros inescrupulosos y luego me fui al Departamento de Trabajo e investigué todo lo concerniente al tráfico laboral. Fui parte del Consejo Municipal donde seguí de cerca el tema de arrestos por parte de las autoridades migratorias. Pasé a  trabajar con el Gobernador  Andrew Cuomo y manejé el proyecto de denuncia sobre las inmigrantes explotadas en los salones de uñas, del que se publicó el exposé en The New York Times  (“un trabajo tan duro como las uñas”).

¿En qué momento decide lanzarse?

De la oficina del Gobernador  pasé a trabajar con la concejal Julissa Ferreras. Ella renunció y el asambleista del distrito la reemplazó, entonces, quedó esa vacante libre y me hicieron la propuesta.

¿Trump fue un impulso para hacer política?

Yo siempre luchaba por la comunidad tras bastidores porque a uno le enseñan que uno no debe hablar de su estatus migratorio porque hay miedo. Tengo una ahijada con Daca y el día de las elecciones presidenciales apenas amunciaron que Donald Trump ganó, yo la llamé y le dije: pásame todos los papeles, yo no quiero que te deporten y yo quiero ser tu guardián legal y me dice “deja de ser exagerada” solo sigue peleando por nosotros y cuando decidí lanzarme ella me dijo que esta era una forma de pelear.

¿Qué puede hacer la  Asamblea por los dreamers?

Un asamblea ayuda a pasar el presupuesto estatal y ayuda a legislar. El asambleísta que que tuvo el lugar al que yo aspiro introdujo el Dream Act estatal. Nadie puede impulsarlo con más ganas que alguien como yo que en su momento se hubiera beneficiado de un proyecto como este.

Dreamers y género son los temas de interés de Catalina.

¿Falta voluntad política para que el Dream Act se apruebe en el Estado?

Si hablamos del Dream Act federal yo creo que hay voluntad de parte de los demócratas pero necesitamos más porque nos prometen cosas pero al final del día quedamos sin nada. Existe la voluntad de conversar pero tienen que dejar el miedo  porque esto no es política esto es algo de humanidad. Lo único que queremos es vivir sin miedo. Más de un millon de jóvenes lo único que están pidiendo es que les den la oportunidad de estudiar y contribuir a la comunidad. Esto no es de documentado o indocumentado esto se trata del derecho al acceso a la educación.

source: http://elborde.co/2018/02/06/la-dreamer-colombiana-que-se-abre-camino-politico-en-nueva-york/#prettyPhoto

Voices of New York: Dreamer Catalina Cruz Seeks NY Assembly Seat

If anyone has inspired Catalina Cruz, 35, to run for State Assembly it is her mother, who she says is the “real dreamer.” When they left their native Medellín, Colombia, in 1992, Cruz was only 9 years old. Today she is a lawyer  and the most vivid example of the children who were brought to the United States by their immigrant parents.

She went to school and built herself a career while undocumented, and now aspires to occupy the seat for Assembly District 39 in Queens, left vacant by Francisco Moya.

“I am a ‘Dreamer,’ and my dream is to be able to represent my community. It would have never occurred to me during the darkest moments – when my mother, Rosa Agudelo, was struggling to put food on the table – that I would be able to be a lawyer one day, that I would be working on projects for the governor and that I would end up running to be an Assembly member.”

Educated in the city’s public school system and later at John Jay College – CUNY, where she was president of the Latin American student association, and CUNY School of Law, Cruz encourages young people disappointed in the system to continue fighting, as “you never know where life will lead you.”

“My mother sought the American dream. Not the one people see on TV, but the one that she forged for herself as a single mom cleaning houses, handing out flyers in Jackson Heights and selling empanadas. Thanks to those efforts, we got our residency and, later, our citizenship.”

Cruz is an activist in favor of immigration reform and workers’ rights. Until last December, she worked as former Council member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland’s chief of staff, a key position from which she was able to help push for legislation protecting workers, women and the city’s small business owners.

She also worked as the director of the Exploited Workers Task Force launched by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which made New York state a national example in the fight against labor exploitation.

Cruz was part of the City Council’s Committee on Immigration, where she coordinated the first hearing in the body’s history focused on domestic worker trafficking. She also supervised the implementation of the Unaccompanied Minors Initiative and the city’s municipal ID program (IDNYC).

Driver’s licenses for safety

Cruz­ ­ ­­­– who says that she has the support of a number of leaders of the Democratic Party in Queens and throughout the city – outlined the five points that will support her work platform if she is elected: public transportation, affordable housing, protecting the immigrant population, access to health programs and unrestricted driver’s licenses.

“There is great need within the community, and I am a person who believes that a good politician does two things: legislate, and capture the attention necessary to satisfy those needs. I may be unable to create a law at the Assembly to solve some of these issues, but I can raise the awareness that we need, form alliances with other elected officials and generate solutions.”

Improving the public transportation system is at the top of her priorities. Cruz said that something needs to be done about the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which she described as a complete disaster at the moment.

“Workers in our communities continue to arrive late to their jobs. Those who are paid by the hour generally lose their employment or their hours are cut. [The MTA] keeps raising the fare, but they are not giving us the service we deserve. Consequently, we must analyze how to get out of this crisis, whether by reorganizing the MTA, creating smaller agencies, or evaluating how to solve its huge debt.”

Regarding the affordable housing deficit in her district – which spans the neighborhoods of Elmhurst, Corona and Jackson Heights – she spoke about her experience as an advocate for low-income tenants.

“Even though we are at a point in which housing is no longer rent-stabilized, this is not enough, as rentals continue to rise constantly. Right now, the law is about to expire in the next two years. It must be extended so that families are not forced to live in small apartments, and the truth is that, because they work very hard, they deserve to have their own home and not be crammed in that manner.”

Touting her “Dreamer” past, the candidate says that if she reaches the legislature, her goal is to get New York state to have more leadership in protecting immigrants.

“We suffer daily attacks from Washington, and they get worse every time. They started out by eliminating DACA, then TPS. What other civil rights will they take away from immigrants? As a state, we have the responsibility to protect our immigrant communities,” stressed Cruz.

“As a legislature, we must identify the needs of the immigrant community and approve measures that offer them access to all benefits. Whether it is by obtaining more funding for English as a second language programs or by promoting access to college or, more justly, by passing the State DREAM Act.”

In addition, Cruz considers that she could introduce a bill in the Assembly to give access to driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status.

“From my perspective, the issue is linked to safety and has nothing to do with [immigration] status. Driving without a license is a real hazard for the population, and that is why I believe that everyone who drives must have access to a permit. Additionally, I would like to focus on getting better access to health programs in my community, particularly in the area of mental health.”

Hispanic women in the Assembly

Cruz is concerned about the reduced presence of Hispanic women in leadership positions in the city and state administrations.  “There are too few women in elected positions, and they are fewer every time. As a woman, I am a bit terrified to put my life out there, but if we don’t do this, no one else will.”

Cruz is also concerned about the low turnout of Hispanic voters in electoral processes. She explained that her district has a high percentage of Latino residents. According to her, many of them do not have the means to vote, or do, but fail to exercise their right because they are disillusioned about the system or because they come from countries where the reality is that their vote does not count.

“I want to represent everybody: those who can and those who cannot vote; because I was once one of those people who were unable to vote. ”

SOURCE: https://voicesofny.org/2018/01/dreamer-catalina-cruz-seeks-ny-assembly-seat/

NY1: ‘EXSOÑADORA’ PODRÍA SER LA PRIMERA COLOMBIANA EN LA ASAMBLEA ESTATAL

Entrevistamos a Catalina Cruz, candidata a la Asamblea Estatal por el Distrito 39 de Queens.

Durante unos años estuvo en Estados Unidos indocumentada.

De ser elegida, Cruz sería la primera colombiana en llegar a la Legislatura de Nueva York.

http://www.ny1noticias.com/nyc/noticias/pura-politica/2018/02/03/exsonadora-podria-ser-la-primera-colombiana-en-la-asamblea-estatal

El Diario: Dreamer hispana busca puesto estatal en NY

POR:DAVID RAMIREZ

NUEVA YORK.- Si hay algo que más inspira a Catalina Cruz (35) en su propósito de postularse como candidata a la Asamblea Estatal es su madre, de quien dijo, ‘es la verdadera soñadora’. Cuando emigraron de su natal Medellín, Colombia en 1992,  ella frisaba entonces los 9 años, hoy a la vuelta del tiempo y convertida en abogada, narra su experiencia migratoria.

Cruz es el más vivo ejemplo de los niños que fueron traídos a Estados Unidos por sus padres. Ella estudió y forjó su carrera siendo indocumentada y actualmente espira a ocupar el escaño del Distrito 39 de Queens en la Asamblea Estatal que dejó vacante Francisco Moya.

“Soy soñadora y mi sueño es poder representar a mi comunidad. En la vida, en los momentos más oscuros en que Rosa Agudelo, mi madre, buscaba que hacer para tener qué comer ese día, jamás se me hubiese pasado por la mente que algún podría llegar a ser abogada, que iba a estar trabajando en proyectos del gobernador y llegaría a postularme como Asambleísta”.

Formada en el sistema escolar público de la ciudad y en la facultad de Derecho de la Universidad John Jay de CUNY, donde fue presidenta de la Asociación de Estudiantes Hispanos, Cruz insta a los jóvenes que se sienten desilusionados por el sistema, a seguir luchando porque, “uno nunca sabe las vueltas que da la vida”.

“Mi madre buscó el sueño americano, pero no el que la gente ve por televisión, sino el que forjó como madre soltera limpiando casas, entregando volantes en Jackson Heights y vendiendo empanadas. Gracias a ese esfuerzo, obtuvimos la residencia y posteriormente la ciudadanía”.

Sus vínculos con la comunidad

Cruz es activista pro reforma migratoria y de los derechos de los trabajadores. Hasta diciembre trabajó como jefa de personal de la ex-concejal Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, una posición clave desde la cual fue artífice para que se  aprobara la legislación que protege a los trabajadores, a las mujeres y a los dueños de pequeños negocios de la ciudad.

También se desempeñó como directora del Grupo de Trabajo Contra la Explotación de Trabajadores del gobernador Andrew Cuomo, ayudando al estado de Nueva York a convertirse en un ejemplo nacional en la lucha contra la explotación laboral.

Previamente integró el Comité de Inmigración del Concejo Municipal, donde coordinó la primera audiencia en la historia del Concejo enfocada en el tráfico laboral de trabajadoras domésticas. También supervisó la implementación de la Iniciativa de Menores No Acompañados y el programa de identificación municipal de la ciudad de Nueva York (IDNYC).

Propuestas

Cruz­ ­ ­­­—que afirma contar con el respaldo de algunos de los líderes del partido Demócrata en Queens y a través de la ciudad— esbozó un eje de cinco puntos en los que sustenta su plataforma de trabajo en caso de lograr el escaño: Transporte público, vivienda asequible, protección a la comunidad inmigrante, acceso a los programas de salud y a licencias de conducir sin restricciones.

“Hay grandes necesidades en la comunidad y soy de las personas que cree que un buen político hace dos cosas: Legislar y captar la atención para atender esas necesidades. Existen problemas que puede que desde la Asamblea, no pueda ayudar a lograr una ley, pero puedo crear la conciencia necesaria, formar alianzas con otros funcionarios electos y generar  soluciones”.

Mejorar al sistema de transporte público es la primera de sus prioridades. Al respecto subrayó que hay que resolver qué hacer con la Autoridad de Transporte (MTA), que en la actualidad es un completo desastre, dijo.

“Los trabajadores de nuestras comunidades sigue llegando tarde a sus empleos, quienes perciben un salario por hora, generalmente pierden el trabajo o les reducen las horas laborales. Continúan  aumentando la tarifa del transporte pero no nos están dando el tipo de servicios que nos merecemos. En consecuencia, hay que analizar cómo salir de esa crisis, ya sea reorganizando la MTA, creando agencias más pequeñas o analizando cómo resolver la deuda tan grande que tiene”.

En relación al déficit de vivienda asequible en su distrito, que comprende los vecindarios de Elmhurst, Corona y Jackson Heights, habló de su experiencia como defensora de inquilinos de bajos ingresos.

“Aunque tenemos un nivel donde las viviendas dejan de ser de renta estabilizada, no es suficiente, porque el alquiler sigue subiendo de forma permanente. En este momento la ley va a vencer en los próximos 2 años, entonces hay que extenderla para que las familias no se vean obligadas a vivir en apartamentos pequeños y la verdad es que se merecen —por todo lo que trabajan— tener su propio hogar y no estar aglomerados de esa forma”.

La candidata presume de su pasado como ‘Dreamer’. De llegar la Legislatura, la meta que se propone es que el Estado de Nueva York, tome mayor liderazgo en la protección a los inmigrantes.

“A diario sufrimos ataques desde Washington y cada vez peor. Empezaron con eliminar el DACA, luego el TPS, y así, qué otros derechos civiles nos van a quitar a los inmigrantes. Como estado tenemos la responsabilidad de proteger a nuestras comunidades de inmigrantes”, enfatizó Cruz.

“Es necesario que como Legislatura, debemos identificar las necesidades de la comunidad inmigrante y a aprobar medidas que brinden acceso a todos los beneficios. Ya sea por la vía de obtener más fondos para programas de inglés como segundo idioma o que promuevan el acceso a la universidad, o lo más justo, que se apruebe el DREAM Act estatal”.

De otra parte, Cruz considera que es factible que desde la Asamblea pueda impulsar un proyecto de ley que dé acceso a licencias de conducir sin importar el estatus. A su criterio, el tema debe ser analizado desde la perspectiva global de seguridad para los ciudadanos.

“Quiero ver un estado donde todas las comunidades tengan acceso a licencias de conducir porque desde mi punto de vista, el tema está vinculado a la seguridad y no tiene que ver con estatus. Manejar sin licencia es un  verdadero peligro para la ciudadanía, por tal razón, considero que todo el que maneje debe tener acceso a una licencia. Adicionalmente, quisiera enfocarme en lograr que exista un mejor acceso a los programas de salud en mi comunidad, especialmente en el área de salud mental”.

Hispanas en la Asamblea

Cruz  ve con preocupación la escasa presencia de mujeres hispanas en puestos de liderazgo en el gobierno de la ciudad y estatal, en tal virtud cree que ha llegado el momento de enfrentar el reto y por ello justifica postularse.

“Hay muy pocas mujeres en posiciones de elección y cada vez siguen disminuyendo. Como mujer, me da cierto pavor poner mi vida a la intemperie, pero es algo que si no lo hacemos, no lo va a hacer nadie más”.

Cruz sostiene que es tiempo de que más mujeres con vivencias en las comunidades que las están eligiendo, estén en estas posiciones de poder.

La importancia del voto

Así mismo, le preocupa la poca participación de los hispanos en los procesos electorales y explica que en su distrito hay una proporción alta de latinos. Según Cruz, muchos, o no tienen la posibilidad de sufragar o lo pueden hacer y no ejercen ese derecho porque están desilusionados del sistema o porque provienen de países donde la realidad es que el voto no cuenta.

“Quiero representar a todo el mundo, los que pueden y los que no pueden sufragar, porque en algún momento yo fui una persona que no podía votar. También les quiero decir a las personas que son votantes que, si seguimos sentados teniendo el derecho a votar, no nos podemos quejar cuando el día de mañana llegue alguien más a tomar decisiones que no le convienen a nuestra comunidad”.

SOURCE: https://eldiariony.com/2018/01/28/catalina-cruz-uno-nunca-sabe-las-vueltas-que-da-la-vida/

El Diario: La Gran Manzana se moviliza para exigir que se mantenga DACA

While councilors and activists promoted the Day of Action in favor of the ‘dreamers’, dozens of New Yorkers traveled to Washington to press the congressmen

Catalina Cruz reparte panfletos sobre la extensión para renovar DACA.

Con volantes en mano, y manifestando su apoyo absoluto a los más de 50,000 jóvenes neoyorquinos beneficiarios del programa de protección DACA que llega a su fin el próximo marzo, varios concejales y voluntarios se tomaron este jueves una docena de estaciones del Subway en la Gran Manzana, como parte del Día de Acción en favor de los ‘dreamers’.

Desde las 7 de la mañana y hasta caer la tarde, líderes políticos de QueensBrooklynEl Bronx y Manhattan, se dieron a la tarea de hablar con usuarios sobre la importancia de que este viernes el Congreso tome una decisión justa sobre el futuro de quienes llegaron a Estados Unidos siendo menores de edad, y de paso dieron información sobre servicios de ayuda legal gratuita a aquellos “Dacamentados” que aun pueden registrarse para renovar sus permisos de trabajo.

“Hoy es un día extremadamente importante para quienes tienen DACA, pues queremos ofrecerles ayuda para renovar y extender sus papeles para poder seguir presentes legalmente en el país y además decirle al Congreso que sería una pérdida terrible no poder seguir empleando a los miles de jóvenes que tienen DACA si no toman una decisión acertada en Washington”, comentó Daniel Dromm, concejal de Jackson Heights, en Queens, quien destacó que un joven beneficiario de DACA trabaja en su oficina y ha hecho una gran labor por su comunidad. “También con este día de acción, queremos decirle a los residentes y ciudadanos de nuestra comunidad que estamos orgullosos de apoyar a estos jóvenes y pedirles que se sumen a nuestra voz para exigir una solución a Washington. Necesitamos una legislación limpia, sin condiciones, a favor de los soñadores y la necesitamos ya”.

Exhortan renovar solicitudes

Catalina Cruz, presidenta de la Asociación de Abogados Latinos de Queens, quien se sumó al grupo de voluntarios del Día de Acción en la estación del Subway de la calle 74, hizo un llamado a quienes son beneficiarios de DACA para que se conecten con organizaciones que los ayudarán a presentar sus solicitudes para renovar sus permisos de trabajo, si califican.

“I grew up  being undocumented . I am from the era of the dreamers and I believe that these actions that councilors are promoting today are very positive because we are reporting on access to helpful information for our young people so that what I went through in my time does not happen to them, when my family and I were victims of fraud by notaries with false promises, “said the volunteer, who in turn sent a message to Washington. Stop treating us as a political piece  and if you are on the side of immigrants, really show it, because the voters are going to remember them.”

La Gran Manzana se moviliza para exigir que se mantenga DACA

TimesLedger: Jackson Heights progressives rally against Trump’s first year

Catalina Cruz, community organizer, stands with City Councilmen Daniel Dromm and Costa Constantinides and members of the New Visions Democratic Club for a rally in Jackson Heights marking the one year anniversary of President Trump’s election.

by Bill Parry Dozens of progressive Democrats and members of immigrant and LGBT organizations joined elected officials for a rally at Travers Park in Jackson Heights to mark the one-year anniversary of President Trump’s election Nov. 8.

The overall message of the protest, organized by the New Visions Democratic Club, was to “stand to protect our values and save our democracy” as speaker after speaker assailed the current administration.

https://www.timesledger.com/stories/2017/46/antitrump_2017_11_17_q.html

Queens Chronicle: Heartache but hope at one year of Trump

Catalina Cruz speaks of her community’s struggles on the first anniversary of President Trump’s election, but also of the hope that comes with a strong Queens pushback, and returns from last Election Day, that appear to be promising.

“I was devastated,” said Catalina Cruz, an attorney and member of New Visions Democratic Club, before the formal event. 

“I cried that night. We’re rallying to bring back some of the vision and spirit we feel was somewhat lost last year.”

read more: http://www.qchron.com/editions/queenswide/heartache-but-hope-at-one-year-of-trump/article_a8b050ec-aaed-5f27-9e2e-678e16b0e666.html

反川普集會 挺無證移民

民選官員與移民權益團體、同性戀組織等8日在傑克森高地舉行反川普集會。(記者朱澤人/攝影)

川普總統當選滿一周年,皇后區多名民選官員與移民權益團體、同性戀組織等8日聚集在傑克森高地(Jackson Heights)舉行反川普集會。多名新移民指出,此次普選結果民主黨大勝,顯示紐約客堅定支持無證移民的信念,並讓任何族裔都不必活在恐懼與遭受歧視的陰影。

組織此集會活動的「新視界民主黨聚樂部」(New Vision Democratic Club)主席卡塔麗娜‧克魯茲(Catalina Cruz)表示,川普代表的是反移民與白人至上主義,讓社區人心惶惶,此日集會希望讓所有移民了解紐約客與他們同在,共同對抗歧視。她呼籲,所有新移民要關注新聞,了解自身權益,不要躲在暗處活在恐懼中。

多名移民表達對川普的強烈厭惡,來自日本的大野富美子與同性伴侶在加拿大住九年,今年6月搬到紐約市。她表示,川普與日本首相安倍晉三都像獨裁者,將國家帶入錯誤方向。同性伴侶伊蓮諾‧貝奇德(Eleanor Batchelder)指出,民主黨的勝利對移民與同性戀團體都是極大振奮,「我們希望未來三年能有更多民主黨人當選,或是至少讓更多共和黨人站出來反川普」。

涵括艾姆赫斯特的第25選區市議員卓姆(Daniel Dromm)在此次普選無競爭對手,三度連任。他表示,一年前川普當選讓不少紐約客跌破眼鏡,不過民主黨在此次普選大勝,接連拿下維吉尼亞州與新澤西州的州長,尤其市長白思豪拿下66%的選票,顯示紐約市贊同改革派施政方向。「只要民主黨團結,就能做到我們該做的。」

卓姆還表示,未來四年是他在市議會最後一任,將會集中精力在爭取同性戀權益、增進學生福利、改革司法、確保移民權利。特別是移民方面,他表示提出的法案今年通過,將詐欺移民者的罰金加重為1萬元,讓檢方更容易起訴這類詐欺犯,將來會持續立法保護移民。此外,他的辦公室去年已開始有華裔雇員,吸引更多華人來尋求幫助,未來他也會繼續為華裔選民爭取更多經費。

https://www.worldjournal.com/5269343/article-%E5%8F%8D%E5%B7%9D%E6%99%AE%E9%9B%86%E6%9C%83-%E6%8C%BA%E7%84%A1%E8%AD%89%E7%A7%BB%E6%B0%91/

Gotham Gazette: Lawyers of Color Largely Shut Out of Queens Surrogate’s Court Business

For decades, the judicial courts in Queens have been plagued by nepotism and patronage charges, with judges accused of awarding lucrative appointments to a select few.

Some of the highest earners of guardianship appointments, doled out by Surrogate’s Court for those who die or become incapacitated without wills, frequently have ties to the County Democratic Party machine, headed by Congressional Rep. Joseph Crowley.

A demographic breakdown of the highest earning beneficiaries of Surrogate’s Court appointments over the past seven years suggests that a pattern of favoritism may be creating a systemic barrier to entry for lawyers of color, and even amplifying racial disparities throughout the judicial system.

“Our organization is dedicated to increasing the representation of attorneys of color in all areas of practice in Queens. We respect the autonomy of judges and we will continue to work with all parties to make Queens more diverse,” said Catalina Cruz, president of the Latino Lawyers Association.

Perhaps these efforts paid off, because there was a slight uptick in total Surrogate’s Court payments going to lawyers of color in 2016. Judge Kelly did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

source: http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/6995-lawyers-of-color-largely-shut-out-of-queens-surrogate-s-court-business

El Nuevo Herald: Preocupa el tráfico laboral en N.Y.

El tráfico laboral es un crimen escondido que ocurre todos los días en Nueva York y aunque las principales víctimas son indocumentados, los residentes legales o los ciudadanos no escapan a esa situación.

“Sabemos que ocurre todos los días muchas más veces de las que hemos podido descubrir. Se necesita darle luz a este problema y educación comunitaria para poder descubrir a toda esa gente que aún está ahí, sin saber que lo que les ocurre es un crimen”, dijo a Efe la colombiana Catalina Cruz, abogada de la División de Asuntos y Políticas del Inmigrante del Departamento del Trabajo.

Aunque el Departamento del Trabajo no lleva estadísticas sobre este tipo de casos, los de la Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, dependencia del gobierno que brinda servicios de emergencia a las víctimas, señalan que desde 2007 han tenido 331 casos confirmados de tráfico humano, de las que 91 son de tráfico laboral y 216 de tráfico sexual, indicó Cruz.

http://www.elnuevoherald.com/noticias/estados-unidos/article2101336.html