At a hearing today before the New York City Council’s Immigration Committee, the New York Civil Liberties Union called on council members to demand that Congress pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation that protects the civil rights and civil liberties of immigrants and citizens.

NYCU Advocacy Director Udi Ofer testified in support of City Council Resolution 162, which calls on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. He urged council members to amend the resolution to call for reform that will fix the immigration system in a manner consistent with the nation’s and the city’s values.

“The City Council should not be satisfied with endorsing just any immigration reform legislation,” Ofer said. “Senator Schumer, New York’s home senator, is leading this fight in Congress and the Council ought to demand from him legislation that reflects the values and priorities of his constituency in New York.”

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has pledged to introduce an immigration reform bill this year that would provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. However, his plan as outlined would establish a national biometric worker ID card that would threaten the privacy and liberty of immigrants and citizens. The plan also ignores several civil rights problems plaguing the immigration system, such as the lack of judicial review and due process for people held in immigration detention centers.

The NYCLU believes that comprehensive immigration reform must accomplish the following:

  • Pave a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants already living in the Unites States, including the 1 million immigrants living in New York State;
  • Restore due process, judicial review, and fairness to the immigration system;
  • End local enforcement of federal immigration law;
  • Treat immigrants in detention centers humanely and create alternatives to detention;
  • End discrimination against bi-national LGBT families in the immigration system; and
  • Respect Americans’ privacy and reject backdoor attempts to establish a national ID card.

“The New York City Council should go on record supporting Senator Schumer in his efforts to provide a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants,” Ofer said. “But it should urge him to reject a biometric national worker ID card and to fix the civil rights and civil liberties problems that plague our immigration system.”