NYPD cop O'Neill visits CUNY/Daily News Citizenship Now! call-in

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill made history Thursday by becoming the first top cop to visit the CUNY/Daily News Citizenship Now! hotline headquarters.

O’Neill’s appearance came four months after he defied the Trump administration by announcing that the NYPD will not enforce warrants issued by federal immigration officials.

“I think especially in 2017, it’s important that I’m here,” O’Neill said.

“The NYPD is looking to build trust throughout the city and I think programs like this help us with that. We don’t conduct civil immigration enforcement and we’re not going to do it.”

DiNapoli hails volunteers at Citizenship Now! center as ‘heroes’

Citizenship Now! Director Allan Wernick hailed O’Neill’s visit.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

Editor-in-Chief of the New York Daily News Arthur Brown (r.) introduces NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neill (2nd from r.) at the 15th Annual Citizenship Now! hotline headquarters.

(Anthony DelMundo/New York Daily News)

“It’s a statement to New Yorkers and immigrants but also to police forces across the nation,” said Wernick, who is also The News’ immigration columnist.

The call-in service, in its 15th year, offers free advice to anyone with questions about immigration and citizenship.

The hotline — open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Friday — answered more than 2,900 calls Thursday. Since Monday, volunteers have handled nearly 10,500 inquiries.

Daily News/CUNY Citizenship Now! call-in open

Among the city politicians who attended Thursday were City Councilman Mathieu Eugene (D-Brooklyn) and Public Advocate Letitia James.

James hollered “Sí, se puede!” (Yes, we can) when she stepped into the Spanish-speaking call-in room.

In a nod to the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant stance, James told the volunteers a climate of fear now hangs over many city communities.

“We’re living in some really, really scary times,” James added.

Mayor de Blasio doles out legal advice to immigrants at call-in

“Right now, the power is in your hands to empower individuals, to inform them of their rights, to embolden them, and to let them know that immigrants and refugees are valued here.”

A Slovakia native now living in Queens, Mikcova-Malinakova was not yet a citizen when she began volunteering at Citizenship Now! call-ins in 2013.

The 24-year-old special needs teacher said studying immigration materials as a hotline volunteer put her on a path to pursuing citizenship.

“I went for the first call-in when my best friend, who was undocumented, asked me to come in, and ever since then I keep on coming,” Mikcova-Malinakova said.

TV judge Ana Maria Polo lends her support to Citizenship Now!

Mikcova-Malinakova said she takes special pride in helping provide answers to vexing immigration questions.

“Even just giving news to someone that might not be a candidate for becoming a green-card holder might help save them from applying and becoming someone who’s deportable,” she said.

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