michelle molinaExecutive Director, El Centro del Inmigrante
The neighborhood you live or work in:
What makes you so passionate about the work of the Task Force?
What’s your story?
SI El Centro del Inmigrante was formed in 1997 and was the first group to recognize the extraordinary number of newcomers from Mexico moving to the Port Richmond neighborhood and areas nearby. Launched as a collaboration between St. Mary’s R.C. Church with Project Hospitality and a group of immigrant leaders in the community, El Centro has since become a touchstone for new immigrants from across the borough. We are one of the handful of day labor and domestic worksites in the city that creates a safe environment for prospective employers and laborers. We also provide a range of vital services to the community, including a food pantry, ESL classes, tutoring for students, OSHA classes, tax assistance, legal help with DACA and general immigration services, benefits connections and more.
Describe the climate for new immigrants coming to Staten Island. What’s the good & the bad.
On the negative side, immigrants face many daily challenges such as deportation, unemployment, wage theft, the high cost of housing and the lack of a public hospital on the island make also the health care system difficult to navigate and receive services.