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Long Island City-Based Group That Aides Undocumented Immigrants Gets $20K From Gianaris’ Office

Julie Schwietert Collazo (left) whose group helped bail out Yeni Gonzalez Garcia from an ICE detention center and reunite her with her children last year (Photo: QueensPost)

June 27, 2019 By Shane O’Brien

A Long Island City-based non-profit group that supports undocumented families separated by ICE at the border has received $20,000 in funds from State Sen. Mike Gianaris’ office.

Immigrant Families Together (IFT), an organization set up by Long Island City resident Julie Schwiertert Collazo, celebrated its one-year anniversary Monday night at Alewife Brewing Co. in Long Island City. The $20,000 in funding was presented to the group the same evening.

IFT was set up in response to the Trump administration’s tough immigration policies and to help provide bail for parents who have been separated from their children. The goal of the organization is to reunite families and help them immigrate .

So far, the organization has posted bail for 70 adults who had been separated from their children as a result of ICE detention and has raised close to $1 million in donations.

Gianaris’ funding will go toward the legal work carried out by the organization.

In a statement, Gianaris thanked IFT in its work supporting immigrant families who had experienced trauma.

“Immigrant Families Together does incredible work helping people seeking a better life, like generations of Americans before them,” Gianaris said.

Schwiertert Collazo said that the group was grateful for Gianaris’ donation as legal fees are one of the group’s biggest expenses each month.

“While we enjoy immense support of New York City’s Mayor’s Office and its Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs, Bitta Mostofi, outside NYC, our legal costs grow exponentially each month as pro bono counsel availability shrinks,” said Schwiertert Collazo.


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Frank is not completely wrong. Sure there are legitimate asylum seekers but many fraudsters out there. Some grab kids not their own just to try and beat the system. If they bring kids there is 100% chance they get to stay in the country. Dumb o crats don’t want to change it losers that they are. However the dems are soon to find out their own party voters now 24 % up from 7% believe there is a crisis at the border and realize the asylum loophole is creating a crisis at he border. Frank is right wea re not responsible for every countries problems . We have to enforce our Immigration laws already on the books and close the aforementioned loophole. trump is right Dems are wrong. You are wrong and most likely a illegal Immigrant enabler/advocate.

Everything you said is completely false

Frank IS completely wrong. You can seek asylum if you’re persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or particular social group.

Frank thinks it’s just persecution by the government that can qualify someone for asylum because he doesn’t know anything about it. You know even less.

Why did Trump completely fail to build The Great Wall? How is that protecting us? He completely lied that Mexico “would make a one time payment” for the Wall. Then he begged Democrats for money, and lost. How does not building a wall keep us safe? Try to use some logic.

Deportations are down under Trump. How is that keeping us safe?

Children are being abused and dying in Trump’s camps. How does that keep us safe?


Last week’s arrests at the Hunters Point park were not a one off. ICE and park troopers are scouting the area frequently. All seven family members who were arrested were transported to a detention facility outside NY. No activist groups or immigration lawyers came to the rescue since arrests were in cooperation with the PP. Similar neighborhood scouts happening at Jackson Heights/ Corona area as well. If you are undocumented, avoid public parks! I hope the NGOs and lawyers can push legislator to stop this harassment using the PP loop hole.


Good. ICE should have an 800 number people can call to share information about illegal aliens.


Everyone at Immigrant Families Together should be thrown in jail. They are active enablers of law breaking.

Wait how to attorneys "enable law breaking" lmao

Is there a single reason to believe your opinion?

Yes Trump's lawyers went to jail for rampant fraud and back door meetings with Russians

Not sure what that has to do with this story

Gianaris just wants to reunite families

Gianaris wants to reuinte the children in Trump’s concentration camps with their parents.

You’re…against that?! How heartless.


They Post bail, the undocumented alien fails to appear to immigration court, has no skin in the game as family did not post the immigration bond, but the ITF posted it instead. How many of their clients have absconded and jumped bail? What guarantee that the undocumented alien will show up at immigration court when he has a weak asylum claim and a well founded fear of persecution, but rather an economic refugee not running from persecution, but rather lack of work in Central America. Once in the country bailed out with our tax dollars supplied by Senator Gianaris we are indirectly contributing to the harboring of an undocumented alien. A Master Calendar immigration court hearing at the New York District Office can take over 24 months and an individual hearing for the Asylum claim can take 5 to 6 years, the smugglers know this it’s big business and true claims are being held up. The Federal goverment needs to hire about 3,000 Immigration judges just to catch up with the backlogs and those that can’t prove fear of return and persecution in their home countries should be removed expeditiously. We can’t be responsible because their own countries are corrupt failed states which can’t offer their own people protection against crime & gangs, health care, education, clean water and proper sanitary conditions. Our public education system in NYC is falling apart. LIC High School graduated it’s senior class of 471 students — only 17 accepted to college!!!!!

Wow, the Trump lovers are really eager to post Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt fear mongering on this one

> has no skin in the game

Except getting out of a detention camp?!

>How many of their clients have absconded and jumped bail?

You don’t know, why make up stories?

>an economic refugee not running from persecution

Uh, they are running from persecution. Google “drug cartels.”

> the smugglers know this it’s big business

Is there a single reason to believe this?

Agreed, what happens once they get out? Oh right, IFT provides ongoing support after release, detention assistance and legal representation in addition to bonds.


Drug cartels are run by criminals, not the government, therefore these migrants are fleeing dysfunctional societies, not persecution. We are not responsible for every other country’s inability to get their act together. Certainly accepting hordes of unskilled aliens is not going to improve things here.

This is not a question of fearmongering. It is a question of respecting our immigration laws, and illegal aliens by definition do not. This alone justifies their immediate removal from the country.

Oh, and I am pretty certain that smugglers are making money, otherwise they wouldn’t be smuggling, would they?

Wait...persecution can only come from the governement?

If you’re persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or particular social group. You got 1 of the 5, and you think you understand immigration policy!


Agreed FRANK. Don’t listen to Illegal immigrant helpers who think they know everything.

Except Frank is completely wrongh

You can seek asylum if you’re persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or particular social group.

Frank is completely wrong, and so are you (again). It’s a shame deportations are way down under the president you voted for, huh?

LIC Direct

Has this group been audited to see what they do with the money????? Are they a registered 501(c)(3) Not for Profit or just a loose operation? There are dozens of law firms that handle Pro-Bono cases. Which firms or attorneys are on the receiving end of this money? Gianaris giving our tax dollars to this organization, where’s the oversight?

Why do much hand waving over reuniting families?

Yes they are a non profit, which are regularly audited.

Is there any reason to suspect wrongdoing at all? Or you’re just uncomfortable with the children from Trump’s concentration camps will know their mother?

You’re right though, we can’t literally see where the money goes, but the group is looking for volunteers. You should sign up, since you’re obviously concerned for the well-being of immigrants

great point

That’s fair, I assume if a drug cartel told you they’d kill your children if they didn’t work for them, you’d just shrug and say ok?


No. While I would probably work for them, it also is not our problem. Bad things happen in many countries around the world every day. So? Why should we try to solve other countries’ problems?


You have no idea what a concentration camp is. Educate yourself, because you are sounding less intelligent than Trump using that term.


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