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City Alerts Himalayan Immigrants on Available Services

Members of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Community Affairs Unit and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs recently met with Himalayan immigrants in Jackson Heights to inform them of services that are available to them through the city and to address any issues they are currently facing.

The Queens Chronicle reported that Himalayans are one of the fastest-growing immigrant groups in New York City but are often overlooked. There are currently 50,000 Himalayans who reside in the city; in Jackson Heights, they are the fastest-growing community.

Himalayans consist of people from Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal and 10 states within the Himalayan region in India. The three main religions are Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam, although Christianity has a place in the region as well. The main ethnic groups include Mongoloids, Negroids and Aryans, while in the Sikkim province, the main groups are Lepchas, Nepalis and Bhutiyas. Many of them came to the city during the mid-1990s, while the civil war was taking place in Nepal. It lasted for 10 years and ended in 2006. Approximately 100,000 Nepalese people living in Bhutan were expelled.

Those in attendance were encouraged to sign up for an IDNYC card to be used for identification status. They were also reminded that victims of domestic violence cannot be denied help because of their immigration status. They also learned they can receive free testing, vaccines and treatment for various medical conditions. One of the major concerns expressed at the meeting was the soaring rates of Hepatitis B in Tibet. City officials also let them know of free adult education, career and technical classes and those with green cards can be eligible for U.S. citizenship and that the filing fees to renew their green cards would be waived.

City officials said they are working with Congress to assist in granting temporary resident status to Nepalese immigrants who came to the U.S. last year after an earthquake ravaged their native country, killing approximately 9,000 people. They will also work with Himalayan immigrants to clarify their status after the Supreme Court’s 4-4 decision on President Obama’s executive order on immigration, known as DAPA, was blocked.

The experienced attorneys at Bretz & Coven, LLP can protect your legal rights while obtaining a green card or verifying your immigration status. If you are seeking help on an immigration matter, please call (212) 267-2555.

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