Jose Peralta's Press releases

Peralta On Senate Budget Resolution

Statement From State Senator Jose Peralta

“Where there is a will there is a way.

"And clearly there is the political will for campaign financing, but not for helping young immigrants get a college degree.

“Senate Republicans argued against using tax dollars for campaign financing, just as they had previously argued against spending tax revenue on the DREAM Act.

"But whereas the Senate’s house budget features campaign financing, it excludes the DREAM Act, kicking to the curb, yet again, the hopes and aspirations of young people whose zeal to live, work, pay taxes and prosper in this great country is being held against them.

"I am happy about the inclusion of campaign financing, which I wholeheartedly support.  I am deeply disappointed and frustrated by the exclusion of the DREAM Act.

"I call on the governor and my Republican Senate colleagues to seize the opportunity we have here in New York to build on the growing national consensus around the need for immigration reform and the obvious economic benefits of doing right by our young people.”

March 13, 2014
Read more...

Peralta On UPK, Charters

Statement From State Senator Jose Peralta 

"Finally making prekindergarten truly universal and adding charters calls for more school buildings.  Lots of them.  In my district, schools aren't equipped to meet the demand for kindergarten seats, let alone offer prekindergarten to every eligible child. School overcrowding has been severe here decades.

"In a place as densely populated as New York City, space for classrooms, or anything else, is hard to come by and expensive.

"But whether we want to expand prekindergarten, add charters or finally relieve the suffocating overcrowding that has long plagued my community's schools, we have no choice but to find the space and the money to pay for it.

"Accuse me of stating the obvious, but this seems to be an especially good time to again plead the case for more classrooms."

-30-

March 5, 2014
Read more...

Statement From State Senator Jose Peralta On Washington State Legislature’s Passage Of DREAM Act

“Washington is on the verge of becoming the fourth state to provide college financial aid to undocumented immigrants, after the legislature there last night passed the state’s own DREAM Act with strong bi-partisan support.

“Here in New York, making the DREAM Act a reality will also require support across conferences.  Fortunately,  there is a growing consensus among business, labor and Republican and Democratic leaders across the country, both on the need for immigration reform and the obvious economic benefits of reform.  We saw evidence of that last night in Washington.

“That consensus is building because of the growing recognition that the DREAM Act is an investment in the workforce of tomorrow that would pay for itself many times over in increased tax revenues; and that with the demand for higher-skilled workers increasing, it only makes sense to encourage our young people to pursue higher education

“There is also an increasing realization that the young people who would benefit from the DREAM Act are as American as Thanksgiving.  They arrived at an early age and don’t know any country but the United States.  Their hearts are here and so are there futures.

“Let’s help them better provide for themselves and their families, contribute more to the economy and fully integrate into the American mainstream.”

-30-

February 19, 2014
Read more...

Peralta On Ball Statement

Statement From State Senator Jose Peralta

"Senator Ball’s overheated anti-immigrant rhetoric stands in stark contrast with the view of many in law enforcement.

"Senator Ball seems not to be aware that municipal IDs have been used for years in cities from New Haven, Connecticut, to San Francisco, California, where they have greatly improved cooperation between immigrant communities and law enforcement.

"He also seems unaware that all immigrant driver’s licenses, including the one I have proposed in New York and those already in place in 11 states and Washington D.C., must be clearly distinguishable and meet with the approval of the Department of Homeland Security.

"With municipal ID’s and driver’s licenses, undocumented immigrants today would be able to better provide for their families, contribute more to the economy and fully integrate into the American mainstream, just as generations of immigrants to this country have before them.

"Lumping these hard-working immigrants in with terrorists is the worst kind of irresponsible."

-30-

February 12, 2014
Read more...

State Senator Peralta Targets 21st Century Gang Crime

With holiday shopping bills coming due, State Senator Jose Peralta is cautioning consumers to keep an eye out for unauthorized or suspicious transactions on their bank and credit card statements and is introducing legislation to help law enforcement crack down on “21st Century” organized crime activity.

 Identity theft and the confiscation of personal information, such as bank PINs, are not "seasonal" crimes, but they occur with greater frequency during periods of increased financial activity—like the Christmas shopping season.

 Gangs are becoming more involved in these and other white-collar crimes, such as bank fraud, credit card fraud, money laundering, counterfeiting and mortgage fraud, according to the FBI's National Gang Intelligence Center, which identifies New York and Florida as the twin epicenters of this troubling new development in organized crime.

“Despite the increasing prominence of these crimes, the law used in New York to prosecute gangs and organized crime organizations does not include a wide variety of cyber and identity crimes,” Senator Peralta said.  “That’s not surprising considering that when the Enterprise Corruption Statute was passed in 1986, pagers were the cutting-edge personal technology of the day and the identity theft law did not even exist.”

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, who worked closely with Senator Peralta in drafting the legislation, said, “Those committing the crimes of identity theft are well-organized enterprises that inflict economic harm on a global scale, often leaving multiple victims and significant financial losses in their wake. My office has utilized the enterprise corruption statute in the past to pursue justice against those committing these crimes and this legislative fix to strengthen the law will allow us to do that more efficiently. I thank Senator Peralta for his leadership in introducing this legislation and for recognizing that the law must keep pace with emerging technology.”

Including crimes such as identity theft in the Enterprise Corruption Statute would also save the state money by eliminating duplicative legal proceedings, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of dollars per case.

When a defendant is charged with the crime of enterprise corruption by committing larceny through identity theft, for example, current law requires the defendant be indicted twice for the same underlying actions—one indictment for enterprise corruption and larceny and a second indictment for the identity theft charges.

In turn, a defendant must also be arraigned twice, have bail set twice and have two sets of motions.  In the end, a defendant is tried for the same conduct not once, but twice.

In addition to being needlessly costly to the state, the current law is inequitable to defendants, who also face duplicative costs stemming from needing to pay two retainers to defense counsel.

Here’s a small sampling of high-profile cases of new-age organized crime activity: U.S. Says Ring Stole 160 Million Credit Card Numbers; an identity theft ring spearheaded by the Crips, Bloods and a Brooklyn-based gang called the Outlaws stole more than $2 million from New York charities;  a cyber-theft of 10 million credit and debit card records was attributed to a New York City based street gang with ties to Central America; a Romanian man with ties to organized crime was charged with stealing at least $1.5 million by installing "skimmer" devices at ATM machines across New York City and Long Island.

“The bill would bring the law into the 21st Century,” Senator Peralta said.  “And it would make it easier for police and prosecutors to go after gangs and organized crime syndicates, in addition to saving the state money.”

-30-

December 10, 2013
Read more...

Sen. Peralta Bill Would Give Undocumented Immigrants Access to Driver’s Licenses

State Senator Jose Peralta introduced legislation to provide undocumented immigrant New Yorkers access to driver’s licenses.  He said that, if enacted, the bill will bring the undocumented into the economic mainstream and improve safety on New York roads.

In introducing the bill, Sen. Peralta noted that unlicensed drivers are five times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes and that uninsured drivers are far more likely to flee the scene of an accident.  He added that undocumented immigrants are disproportionately victims of exploitation and fraud.

“A driver’s license will provide undocumented immigrants much more employment flexibility,” Sen. Peralta said.  “In moving out of the shadows and into the economic mainstream, they will be less isolated and less vulnerable to predators and their scams. This legislation  will also help make all New Yorkers safer by allowing us to identify everyone who drives on our roads and ensure that they are properly credentialed, educated and operating registered, inspected and insured vehicles.”

Sen. Peralta’s bill will permit the state Department of Motor Vehicles to issue licenses to undocumented immigrants able to provide non-U.S. identification, prove residence in the state and demonstrate they have not been convicted of a felony crime. 

The senate sponsor of the state DREAM Act, Sen. Peralta said he is looking forward to the development during the upcoming legislative session of “a bipartisan response” to the question of integrating New Americans and giving them a chance to succeed and realize the American Dream. 

Eleven states already allow undocumented immigrants to secure a driver’s license.

-30-

October 24, 2013
Read more...

Statement From State Senator Jose Peralta On Recent Deadly Violence On Roosevelt Avenue

“The recent incidents of deadly violence on Roosevelt Avenue, in broad daylight, underscore the fact that we need a lot more than trash bins and video cameras to make Roosevelt Avenue safe.  

“Roosevelt Avenue is referred to as the old Times Square for good reason.  Cleaning it up once and for all will require the kinds of resources and determination as were invested in purging Times Square of the sleaze that flourished there for so long.

“Unfortunately, that level of commitment from city and state government does not appear to be forthcoming any time soon.  There are steps, however, that can and should be taken immediately to begin the process of making Roosevelt Avenue safer.

“We also need to re-assemble the Roosevelt Avenue Task Force.  Originally convened in 1991, it drew from the Police, Fire and Buildings Departments and other agencies.

The Task Force was so successful in closing down brothels and fighting crime, it was allowed to lapse after just four years in action.

“Fresh paint, additional trash cans and video cameras are welcome.  They are a very far cry, however, from what’s needed to eradicate the prostitution, human trafficking and other illicit enterprises and dangerous activities that have plagued Roosevelt Avenue for decades.“

-30-

September 24, 2013
Read more...

Sen. Peralta Sponsors 9/11 Victim Benefits Forum; Registration Help Available In English and Spanish

With the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund approaching an important deadline, State Senator Jose Peralta is sponsoring a forum to help responders, survivors and the dependents of deceased responders and survivors to fill out the required registration.  Anyone who knew, or had reason to know, of physical harm or illness resulting from the 9/11 attacks before October 3, 2011, is required to register by October 3, 2013.

The forum will be held Saturday in the Elmhurst Hospital auditorium from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. 

“Registration preserves your right to file a claim before the Victim Compensation Fund ends on October 3, 2016,” Sen. Peralta explained.  “Registering is not the same as filing a claim and does not commit you to filing a claim.  If you are uncertain about when your illness began, register by the October 3, 2013, deadline to preserve your right to file a claim in the future.  English- and Spanish-speaking staff at the forum will help with filling out the registration form.”

Joining Sen. Peralta as a co-sponsor of the forum is Single Stop USA, a non-profit organization that provides benefits screening and application assistance services to low-income families.  Single Stop USA is a grantee of the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.  Also co-sponsoring the forum are Hispanic Federation, United We Stand and Ecuadorian International Center. 

-30-

September 23, 2013
Read more...

Senator Peralta Invites All Children To Join His Summer Reading Program

Senator Jose Peralta is inviting all students in kindergarten through eighth grade to participate in the New York State Senate's Summer Reading Program.  This program is aimed at assisting children keep their reading skills honed and minds sharp during their time away from school.

With the end of the school year in sight, many students are anxiously awaiting the summer months. To keep school age children in the mindset of learning, the New York State Senate, in conjunction with the New York State Library, offers the Summer Reading Program to students across the State.

Participating students will use an online journal to keep track of their reading progress throughout the summer. Children who submit a completed journal will receive a Summer Reading Certificate. To have the children register, please visit www.nyread.com.

June 7, 2013
Read more...

Peralta to Mayor: Keep Affordable Housing Promise

State Senator Jose Peralta was joined by the Queens Housing Coalition and Make the Road New York today in calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to “stop the bureaucratic wrecking ball” that has laid waste to more than 1,000 units of affordable housing slated to be built in Willets Point and threatens the construction of all of the 1,920 affordable units that were supposed to be built.

The Willets Point development plan agreed to by the City Council in 2008 included the construction of 1,920 units of affordable housing.  Construction was to begin at the outset of the development process, or after the initial remediation.  Under a revised plan, construction of 875 affordable units will not begin until at least 2025, if at all.

“If they put a wrecking ball to 2,000 units of affordable housing to make room for a shopping mall, it would be front-page news and there would be no end to the outrage,” Sen. Peralta said.  “That’s exactly what’s happening here.  It’s just as outrageous.  It’s just as unacceptable.

“Mr. Mayor, stop the bureaucratic wrecking ball.  Let’s hold everyone to their word and provide the affordable housing this community so desperately needs.  That way, in a few years, instead of a New York City mayor coming into this community to complain about a census undercount, the visit will be to tout this area as a model of mixed-use development where everyone has a dignified place to live.”

Former New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. said: “Middle-class and working-class families in Queens and around the City need more affordable housing. I’m concerned about plans to scale back the development of affordable units in Willets Point and urge Mayor Bloomberg to recommit to building quality, affordable housing in every borough.  As Mayor, I will work to expand middle-income and low-income housing so we can end the middle-class squeeze and allow more New Yorkers to remain in the City they love.”

Assemblyman Francisco Moya said: "Developers have an obligation to address the needs and concerns of the local community.  All too often we have seen in working class neighborhoods and communities of color that promises are not kept.  The community surrounding Willets Point needs to be guaranteed by the developers and city officials that the one element of this project that will benefit residents the most will be fulfilled: the construction of affordable housing units.  The proposed delays and reduced number of units is not acceptable.  I look forward to working with the City Council, local community boards, and the Queens Development Group to make sure that our voices are heard, promises are kept, and that we will not have our communities needs pushed to the side."

Council Member Julissa Ferreras said: “Affordable housing is a necessity for Willets Point and has always remained my priority.  Since day one, I have worked to negotiate with the Administration to secure a fair plan that will ensure 35 percent of the new apartment units being built are affordable housing units. I am appreciative of the support that I have received from my colleague in local government, Senator Peralta, to bring affordable housing to Willets Point now.”

Council Member Daniel Dromm said: “It is unconscionable that the Administration is spending substantial resources on enticing a major league soccer stadium to the area but refuses to reaffirm a commitment to ensuring that affordable housing will be included in any future development at Willet's Point.  New Yorkers who work hard and live in the area should be prioritized over special interests who will give little back to the community.”

Ivan Contreras, Coordinator of Queens Housing Coalition, said: "According to the official contract between the City and the Joint Venture neither party are legally obligated to build the ramps which are needed to develop the housing part.  This means that they can walk away from the project leaving the community with a mall, a hotel, a retail center and a parking lot and not building a unit of housing. I don't think this is what the community wants and needs.  New York is in a housing crisis we need affordable housing and we need it now"  

Leandra Requena, Queens resident and member of Make the Road New York, said: "Members of the community fought hard for affordable housing to be included in the original Willets Point agreement.  Now the developers are backing away from this commitment.  After a history of broken promises, the City should not allow this developer to build a mall at Willets Point, especially when this community does not need yet another mall."

As the plan stands now, there may be no affordable housing ever constructed as part of the Willets Point development.  That's because housing construction may not begin until the city builds additional exit ramps off the Van Wyck Expressway.

The problem is that the city appears to have no intention of completing such construction before 2024, delaying the building of affordable housing until at least 2025.  Moreover, if the ramp construction is not completed by December 1, 2025, the developer, the Queens Development Group, is under no obligation to build any affordable housing whatsoever.  And, ultimately, it could be the Queens Development Group deciding when the ramps are built, should the developer undertake the job.

But even if the ramps are built in a timely manner, the developer may buy its way out of its affordable housing obligation.

“These conditions put the construction of any affordable housing units in serious doubt,” Sen. Peralta wrote in a letter last week to Mayor Bloomberg, City Council Christine Quinn and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall.  “My community and other communities affected by the Willets Redevelopment simply can’t afford to wait or rely on conditional promises.  We need answers and we need results.”

-30-

May 31, 2013
Read more...

Statement From State Senator Jose Peralta On Passing Of Staff Member And Long-Time Colleague Steve Pezenik

“Family, friends and colleagues of Steve Pezenik gathered this morning to bid farewell and celebrate the wonderful life of a loving father and husband, someone who was as selfless and caring an individual as any of us have ever come to know.

“Steve was a great friend and trusted colleague.  He will be dearly missed by the many of us whose lives he touched.”

-30-

May 28, 2013
Read more...

Sen. Peralta, Housing Advocates Condemn ‘Bait-and-Switch Tactics’ Used To Win Support For Willets Point Development

State Senator Jose Peralta and affordable housing advocates are calling for the mayor and Willets Point developers to provide “rock-solid assurances” that affordable housing will be built in the quantity and within the time frame specified in the plan approved by the City Council.

The Willets Point development plan agreed to by the Council included the construction of 1,920 units of affordable housing.  Construction was to begin at the outset of the development process, or after the initial remediation.  Under the revised plan, construction of 875 affordable units will not begin until at least 2025, if at all,

“These bait-and-switch tactics cannot be tolerated,” Sen. Peralta wrote in a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall.  “I will be urging community boards that approved the original plan to reconsider their support in light of the significant changes made to it.  I urge the City Council to do the same.

“It is imperative that the Council, community boards and all of the public receive from the city and the developers rock-solid assurances that the number of affordable units originally called for in the plan be built and made available in a timely manner,” Sen. Peralta added.

Ivan Contreras, the coordinator of the Queens Housing Coalition, an alliance of seven community-based organizations whose objective is to preserve and advocate for the development and preservation of affordable housing in Queens, is also troubled by the changes in the plan and shifting accountability.

“Most importantly, the city and developers have attempted to appease community concerns by making mere verbal promises, but have yet to commit to contractual obligations to follow through with their commitments,” Contreras said.  “Such a lack of accountability in this long-term project means that the community faces an immense risk of losing out on the potential benefits of the project—namely, affordable housing, which is so desperately needed in the surrounding communities.”

As it stands now, there may be no affordable housing ever constructed as part of the Willets Point development.  That's because housing construction may not begin until the city builds additional exit ramps off the Van Wyck Expressway.

The problem is that the city appears to have no intention of completing such construction before 2024, delaying the building of affordable housing until at least 2025.  Moreover, if the ramp construction is not completed by December 1, 2025, the developer, the Queens Development Group, is under no obligation to build any affordable housing whatsoever.  And, ultimately, it could be the Queens Development Group deciding when the ramps are built, should the developer undertake the job.

But even if the ramps are built in a timely manner, the developer may buy its way out of its affordable housing obligation.

“These conditions put the construction of any affordable housing units in serious doubt,” Sen. Peralta noted.  “My community and other communities affected by the Willets Redevelopment simply can’t afford to wait or rely on conditional promises.  We need answers and we need results.”

The Queens Housing Coalition is an alliance of seven community organizations—Centro Hispano Cuzcatlan, Queens Community House, Catholic Migration Services, Woodside on the Move, Chhaya CDC, MinKwon Center for Community Action and Asian Americans For Equality.

-30-

Attachment: Letter from Peralta to Bloomberg, Quinn and Marshall.

May 22, 2013
Read more...

Hundreds Turn Out for Corona Job Fair

Nearly 400 job seekers met with employers Saturday at a job fair sponsored by State Senator Jose Peralta in conjunction with Elmcor Career Pathways and United Healthcare.

Thirty-five of the attendees were offered jobs at the fair, held at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Corona.

“The economy is improving, but many families are still struggling to make ends meet,” Senator Peralta said.  “We were able to immediately help at least some of them at the fair.  From past experience, I think a number of others will end up landing jobs thanks to the contacts they made at the fair.”

Some of the 24 employers on hand included Time Warner Cable, Resorts World Casino, Council for Airport Opportunity, New York Life, Coca Cola and a variety of government agencies, including the New York police and fire departments.

-30-

May 15, 2013
Read more...

Peralta: State Seems Determined to Shrink Middle Class

Statement From State Senator Jose Peralta

“We seem determined to shrink our middle class, grow the ranks of the impoverished and widen the gap between the richest and poorest.  It’s the only way to explain the minimum wage debacle that’s playing out and why immigrants who want to go to college, work and pay taxes are treated like social outcasts.”

-30-

March 21, 2013
Read more...

Peralta to Gov.: Your Leadership Needed On Dream Act

Statement From State Senator Jose Peralta

 “It took great courage and leadership to achieve marriage equality in New York and to pass the toughest gun laws in the country.  Rather than wait on the federal government to do something, Governor Cuomo instead showed the federal government how to get big, important, meaningful things done.

“On behalf of all Dreamers, I am urging Governor Cuomo to again bring to bear his great courage, considerable political skills and extraordinary leadership abilities in getting something big, important and meaningful done.  And make no mistake: Immigration reform is important and most certainly needs to get done. 

“As a sound investment in our state’s workforce and future that would eventually pay for itself many times over, the Dream Act belongs in the budget.

“The Dream Act means far too much to far too many people to continue to be ignored.”

-30-

March 20, 2013
Read more...

Senator Peralta Calls DOT’s Attention To Dangerous Queens Intersection

State Senator Jose Peralta is urging the city’s Department of Transportation to ensure the safety of children who must cross a dangerous Queens intersection to get to and from school without the help of a crossing guard.

“I am writing to urge you to take a close look at the intersection of Junction Blvd. and Horace Harding Expressway in Queens with an eye toward improving pedestrian safety, particularly that of the children of nearby P.S. 206,” wrote Senator Peralta in a letter to Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, whom he is calling upon after learning that neither of the local precincts is assigning a crossing to the intersection.

“This is a very dangerous intersection for students and it is imperative that we have proper supervision at this corner,” wrote P.S. 206 Principal Joan Thomas last summer in requesting the reinstatement of a school crossing guard at the location.  “As the principal of P.S. 206, I am very concerned about the safety of my children.”

"We applaud Senator Peralta for his leadership on street safety. Every neighborhood needs safe streets to thrive—that’s why Junction Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway in Queens need to be made safe for local children, families, and seniors," said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives.

In the letter to the transportation department, Senator Peralta recommends that the intersection be among the locations at which the proposed speed camera program is piloted.  He also asks the commissioner to do whatever else she thinks is needed to protect the children of P.S. 206, many of whom navigate the intersection to get to and from Lefrak City, where they live, and school.

“There is no substitute for the direct, hands-on traffic control and help that a crossing guard can provide to children,” said Senator Peralta.  “In the absence of a crossing guard, however, any measures you deem necessary and can launch promptly to ensure the safety of the P.S. 206 children will be most welcome.”

-30-

March 20, 2013
Read more...

Peralta to US Senate: Confirm Thomas Now

Statement From State Senator Jose Peralta

“I urge the United States Senate to swiftly confirm Thomas Perez as the next Secretary of Labor.  Mr. Perez is a stalwart champion of worker and immigrant rights who has the skill and experience to be an excellent Secretary of Labor.  Confirming Mr. Perez would be historic, as he would be the first Dominican-American to ascend to a cabinet-level position.”

-30-

March 18, 2013
Read more...

Senator Peralta Urges Schools Chancellor Walcott Not To Co-Locate Programs Within Newtown and Flushing High Schools

State Senator Jose Peralta is urging Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott not to co-locate programs within Newtown and Flushing High Schools, arguing that the Department of Education's plans for these schools fail to recognize the strides they have made in the face of challenging circumstances, including "overcrowding and the continuous instability that the years-long threat of closure has created."

In a letter to Schools Chancellor Walcott, Peralta says that, "More than anything else, what the communities I represent and the entire borough of Queens need from the Department of Education is more schools, more classrooms and more seats for our children and youth.

March 1, 2013
Read more...

Senator Peralta Calls On City To Renegotiate Marriott Marquis Lease

On the heels of a scathing audit report released today, State Senator Jose Peralta joined City Comptroller John Liu in calling on the Bloomberg Administration to renegotiate the city’s lease with the Marriott Marquis Hotel.

Located on a prime tract of Manhattan real estate—Broadway between 45th and 46th Streets—the hotel was built on city-owned land in 1982.  Comptroller Liu’s audit found that new terms the city agreed to in 1998, including a drastic cut in rent, will end up costing taxpayers at least $344.9 million by the time the lease expires in 2017.

February 12, 2013
Read more...

Statement From State Senator Jose Peralta About Proposal to Build Casino At Willets Points

“You have questions being asked about affordable housing and when it will be built as part of the Willets Points development.  Instead of an ironclad guarantee that would put those concerns to rest, we hear of a plan for a large, Las Vegas-style casino.   

“If the goal is to further mire the Willets Point plan in controversy, confusion and uncertainty, floating the casino idea will certainly do the job.”

-30-

February 5, 2013
Read more...
Syndicate content