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Sen. Salazar, AM Reyes Announce Legislation to Keep State, Local Agencies from Conspiring with ICE

ALBANY – Senator Julia Salazar and Assembly Member Karines Reyes, joined by members of the immigrant advocacy, faith, and public health communities came together today to announce The New York for All Act, which prohibits state and local government officials, including police and sheriffs, from dive

ALBANY – Senator Julia Salazar and Assembly Member Karines Reyes, joined by members of the immigrant advocacy, faith, and public health communities came together today to announce The New York for All Act, which prohibits state and local government officials, including police and sheriffs, from diverting personnel and resources or disclosing sensitive information to assist federal immigration enforcement.

The New York for All Act (S.03076/A.02328) will allow all immigrant New Yorkers to live open lives, take care of family, protect their health, and ensure local resources serve local needs. The bill additionally 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.

“ICE has brought fear into our communities by tearing apart families and causing immigrant New Yorkers to live in fear,” said New York State Senator Julia Salazar. “We cannot allow for our state and local governments to be complicit in the systemic abuse that ICE inflicts on our communities, including preventing people from accessing essential services. This is why it’s urgent that we pass New York for All, our legislation that will prohibit New York’s local and state law enforcement agencies from conspiring with ICE.”

“ICE has relied on the collusion of state and local law enforcement to terrorize our hard-working immigrant communities of color,” said New York State Assemblymember Karines Reyes. “We cannot continue to allow ICE to use our local resources to wrongfully funnel people into their custody, separate families, and deport fellow New Yorkers. We must pass the New York for All Act to keep this predatory federal agency out of our over-policed and racially profiled communities of color.”

The Trump administration’s increased focus on immigration enforcement and overtures to local law enforcement heightened the fears that many immigrant New Yorkers carry that a minor interaction with police, such as a simple traffic stop, could lead to the involvement of ICE or Border Patrol, and the potential for detention, deportation, and family separation.

Even with President Trump out of office, that fear and mistrust remains. As members of New York’s immigrant communities continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic, the threat of immigration enforcement lingers and threatens to undermine public health efforts during the pandemic, when communities need to rely on government programs like vaccine distribution.

The threat of local law enforcement overreach into immigration policing threatens many New Yorkers’ ability to live openly or safely. ICE pressure on police to identify and detain undocumented New Yorkers also increases the potential for unconstitutional profiling and targeting. Data shows that crime is lower in jurisdictions across the country where officials do not divert time and resources for federal immigration enforcement. The Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Presidential Task Force on 21st Century Policing, the New York State Sheriffs’ Association, the New York State Police and the New York State Attorney General have all adopted positions or policies to keep out of federal immigration enforcement on the grounds that it harms public safety.

Leading civil liberties and immigrants’ rights organizations have for years urged lawmakers to safeguard sensitive information and local resources from federal immigration enforcement. The New York Civil Liberties Union, the New York Immigration Coalition, and the Immigrant Defense Project were joined by members of the immigrant community, public health experts, faith leaders, and more to applaud the announcement of the legislation.

“We simply cannot close our eyes to the lasting scars of the Trump years and the ongoing pain of our immigrant neighbors facing the pandemic,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “We must address the serious mistrust that exists in our immigrant communities toward our public institutions. The New York for All Act helps us protect the rights of our immigrant communities, and sets a new course forward after years of deportation and fear. This bill makes it unmistakably clear that we will not allow our state and local money, personnel, or machinery – whether in law enforcement or public health – to be subverted for ICE’s cruelty. New Yorkers need to trust that our local governments and police are serving our local needs, not continuing a long legacy of racist immigration enforcement.”

“During a global pandemic which has left thousands dead and millions more jobless, New York should be prioritizing the health and safety of every family, rather than the agenda of a rogue and reckless federal agency,” said Murad Awawdeh, interim Co-Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition. “The New York for All Act offers protections that help all New Yorkers lead open lives by prohibiting local law enforcement and state agencies from conspiring with ICE or participating in its cruelty. We thank our bill champions Senator Salazar and Assemblymember Reyes for recognizing the importance of keeping New York families together, especially as we face both a public health and an economic crisis, which can only be defeated by every New Yorker working together.”

 “Even with the change in Administration and the ongoing pandemic, ICE continues to destabilize our communities — people still have not been released from detention and deportation flights continue to take off. Over the years, ICE has increasingly relied on local law enforcement and local government agencies to search for, arrest, and deport people, who are part of our New York,” said Mizue Aizeki, Interim Executive Director of Immigrant Defense Project. “When local agencies conspire with ICE, it multiplies the injustices of the racially biased criminal legal system and discriminatory policing. New York must lead the nation by separating local and state agencies from ICE, giving every New Yorker access to local resources without the fear that their information will be forwarded to an agency that could rip them away from their community and family.”

“I work with farm workers, most of them undocumented, and they share with me so many of their experiences and struggles,” said Reverend Gerardo Romo-Garcia, Bishop’s Vicar for Hispanic Ministry at the East End Diocese of Long Island. “People in my community have so often been profiled for the color of their skin and been treated poorly by police. It’s a crisis of justice and a serious issue in our faith community, and it echoes throughout the soul of our entire community. There is so much that has to be fixed, and the New York For All Act would be the start of building trust.”

“In many areas of our Diocese, local law enforcement systems have used traffic and pedestrian stops as a pipeline toward deportation for law-abiding immigrants,” said Reverend Marie Tatro, with the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island and St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn. “We owe a deep gratitude to our immigrant neighbors who have been subject to this while giving so much to us: harvesting crops, stocking and delivering groceries, working as home health aides and more. It is our mandate to protect the legal rights of these children of God who have cared for the rest of us throughout this public health crisis.”

“Immigrant communities have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, and there is still so much work needed to address the health challenges and economic hardships,” said Guillermo Chacon, founder of the Hispanic Health Network and President of the Latino Commission on AIDS. “Access to care, testing and vaccination rely on community buy-in, trust and participation from all, but if people fear participation will lead to arrest or deportation, they just won’t participate. Passing the New York for All Act into law would be an essential part of shoring up the trust needed to contain the virus and make sure our immigrant communities feel safe accessing services and care.”

The New York for All Act would bring New York in line with states like California and Washington and several American cities that have passed legislation to separate state and local resources from federal immigration enforcement.

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