New York State Legislature Fails to Protect NYers from Local Government, Police Collusion with ICE
ALBANY, N.Y. – The New York state legislative session concluded last night without lawmakers voting on the New York for All Act (S.03076-A/A.02328-A), key immigrants’ rights legislation that has wide support from immigrants’ rights advocates, legal service providers, public health experts, and faith leaders.
The New York for All Act prohibits state and local government agencies – including police and sheriffs departments – from diverting personnel and resources, and disclosing New Yorkers’ sensitive information, in order to enable federal immigration enforcement. The bill also prohibits ICE from entering non-public areas of state and local property without a judicial warrant, ensures people in custody are given notice of their rights before being interviewed by ICE, and requires an accounting of ICE access to state information databases.
In response, immigrants rights organizations released the following statements:
“In spite of years of flagrant ICE cruelty – in spite of family separations, disappearances, abuse, racial profiling, and coercion – state leaders missed a critical, common-sense opportunity this session to end local collusion with the rogue agency and protect New Yorkers,” said New York Civil Liberties Union Policy Counsel Zachary Ahmad. “The New York for All Act would keep our local officials, including cops, out of ICE’s anti-immigrant agenda and preserve our local resources for real local needs. New Yorkers have taken to the streets and the polls in recent years to demand a more responsive Albany that works on behalf of everyone. They will not forget that Albany failed to deliver these fundamental protections for immigrant New Yorkers and will demand swift action next session.”
“During a global pandemic which has left thousands dead and millions more jobless, New York should be prioritizing the health and security of every family and community member,” said Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition. “The New York for All Act offers protections that help all New Yorkers lead open lives without fear of being ripped from their families during normal activities, like buying groceries or taking their children to school, by prohibiting local law enforcement and state agencies from conspiring with ICE or participating in its cruelty. We thank New York For All Act’s champions, Senator Salazar and Assemblymember Reyes, for recognizing the importance of keeping New York families together and look forward to fighting for its immediate passage in the next legislative session.”
“It is regrettable that the state legislature could not come together to pass the New York For All Act, as this bill would prioritize local public safety and the well-being of all New Yorkers. Too often, we’ve seen federal enforcement agencies use local law enforcement’s access to our communities to carry out harmful immigration policies that ultimately separate families. This type of action incites fear amongst vulnerable communities, such as undocumented immigrants and their families, and diverts time and resources away from local communities. In fact, communities that carried out the highest number of deportations appeared no safer than communities with lower deportation rates, and offenses were lower in places where officials prioritized protecting their local communities,” said Eddie A. Taveras, New York State Immigration Director at FWD.us. “As we continue to rebuild from the aftermath of COVID-19, New York’s government and law enforcement agencies should focus on building honest relationships with all its residents, including the immigrant community, without federal interference. The failure to pass the New York For All Act continues to put the state immigrant residents at risk. It does not have to be this way.”
“The state legislature missed a critical opportunity to establish stronger protections for immigrants, who will continue to be separated from their loved ones and funneled toward deportation because of state and local agencies, and law enforcement in particular. In 2021, it is indefensible that we continue to accept entanglement of our state and local systems with ICE,” said Mizue Aizeki, Interim Executive Director of the Immigrant Defense Project. “Failing to pass this legislation enables racial profiling, harrassment, and threats by people in the public sector acting under color of law. We will continue to fight for a New York where everyone can access local resources and engage with public officials without fear that their information will be forwarded to ICE. We call on the legislature to pass this swiftly when session opens in January next year.”
“New York State failed to stand up to ICE and protect immigrant New Yorkers from further terrorization,” said Rosa Cohen-Cruz, Policy Counsel to the Immigration Practice of The Bronx Defenders. “The New York State Legislature missed a critical opportunity to pass the New York for All Act and end state and local agency collusion with ICE. New York’s ongoing collaborations with ICE will continue to sow distrust and create widespread fear in immigrant communities until our State has the courage to say “no more”. No one should worry that an interaction with state and local agencies might lead to family separation by incarceration or deportation. It is critical that we pass this legislation as soon as possible, and we call on New York State to pass New York for All immediately at the start of the next legislative session!”
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