Queens' identity is inextricably tied to generations of immigrants from Europe to Asia to Latin America that found a home in our community. Therefore, our district has the unique responsibility to lead the fight for fair and responsible immigration reform in Washington--one that keeps families together and provides undocumented Americans with a pathway to citizenship with no criminal penalties. This keeps our neighborhoods safe and brings people out of the dark to cooperate with law enforcement and become productive members of society. In addition to abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and ending the hostility against and inhumane detention of immigrants, we must support new immigrants by providing federal funding for a New Americans Welcome Center. For decades, Congress has promised comprehensive immigration reform. It’s time that we kept them accountable and hold them to their word.
Criminal Justice Reform
The United States incarcerates a larger share of its population than any other nation in the world. The criminal justice system penalizes people with mental health issues, immigrants, people of color, religious minorities and those with limited resources at a disproportionate rate. Criminal justice reform begins with decreasing the prison population and sentencing fewer people to prison, rooting out predatory practices that trap marginalized populations in the system, ending money bail, and reducing recidivism rates by providing a pathway forward for returning citizens. One of the first pieces of legislation I advocated for during my time on the Hill was the Second Chance Act of 2007 to prevent recidivism. As an economic developer, I've supported the development of workforce programs to connect returning citizens with employment opportunities and help them become first time entrepreneurs. I will continue to champion this work as a member of Congress.
Veterans and Military Service Families
After graduating from high school, my younger brother enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where he still serves today. Through his service, I've seen firsthand the challenges that many service members, veterans and their families face. It is important that we honor the best and bravest among us by making sure they have access to job training and employment opportunities, high quality medical and educational benefits as they transition to civilian life. We also need to protect sexual assault survivors in the military and preserve the right of transgender military service members to serve their nation. With over 50,000 veterans in Queens, and the number of young veterans expected to rise over the coming decade, we need to be proactive and ensure they have access to all the opportunities they need and deserve.
Women's Rights &
When I am elected to Congress, I will use my platform to defend women and root out the silent and invisible ways in which women, especially young women of color, are discriminated against and which perpetuates gender inequality and prohibits us from access to the same economic opportunities as men. While women are pursuing higher education and entering the workforce in record numbers, equal pay remains an perennial issue with men continuing to earn more than women for the same work. Time after time, women are forced to defend their reproductive rights. Women have been at the frontline of social justice movements throughout our country's history and I will build on the contributions of the women who have come before me by continuing the fight for gender equality in our nation's capitol.
All Americans deserve equal liberty and freedom under the law, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Currently, no comprehensive federal law is in place to protect the community from discrimination in everyday life including employment, housing, access to financing, education, and access to public spaces and services. In addition to supporting the full passage of the Equality Act, I will actively support open dialogue in our local communities about protecting our LGBTQ youth from discrimination, rejection, fear, and harassment that may come from an unsupportive environment.