Local Anti-Immigrant Ordinances

In recent years, several New York municipalities have considered or enacted local ordinances intended to drive away undocumented immigrants and their families. These ordinances violate the longstanding constitutional principle that the federal government is solely responsible for regulating immigration. Unfairly scapegoating immigrants for the country's social and economic problems, these ordinances engender anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiments, and infringe on fundamental civil rights and liberties. The NYCLU vigorously opposes these discriminatory and unconstitutional measures. In 2007, our grassroots advocacy helped defeat a bill in Suffolk County to ban day laborers from seeking work on county roads. Unfortunately, anti-immigrant local ordinances resonate politically in places that have seen an increase in immigrant populations, such as Suffolk County. 

On Sept. 19, 2006, the Suffolk County Legislature passed a bill to penalize employers who receive county funding and hire undocumented immigrants. On May 13, 2008, the Suffolk County Legislature passed an ordinance requiring that all 17,000 licensed contractors in the county prove their employees' working status. The measure was the first of its kind in the state. On Sept. 29, 2009, the Town of Oyster Bay in Nassau County enacted an ordinance targeting immigrant day laborers.

Click here to read the May 2007 testimony of NYCLU Advocacy Director Udi Ofer before a United Nations official concerning the proliferation of local anti-immigrant ordinances.

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