A new report by the Migration Policy Institute found that New York City is home to more than a half-million undocumented immigrants, with the largest concentration of that population living in Queens.
“I think that Queens, to many people, symbolizes opportunity,” said Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Bayside), who was unsurprised to learn of the figure. She cited the large amount of small businesses in Queens, many of them immigrant-owned, as a potential reason.
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) echoed Meng’s sentiments.
“Queens is the center of this promise of the American Dream,” he said. “It’s a wonderful mix of diversity. In my district, you can practically walk into another country as you move between different enclaves.”
Peralta sees the new data as an opportunity, highlighting the potential these immigrants represent if they can be properly naturalized and brought into the taxpaying workforce.
According to the MPI report, Queens is home to an estimated 246,000 of the city’s 643,000 illegal immigrants, with 91,000 of them eligible for President Obama’s deferred deportation programs, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents.