This summary about the New York For All Act was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.
For years, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have collaborated with state and local officials to target immigrants in the U.S. The New York for All Act would address this collusion, but has been stalled in the state legislature for two years.
New York’s Protect Our Courts Act was passed in 2020 to prevent ICE from making such arrests at courthouses. Some local law enforcement agencies have also made internal policies governing their officers’ dealings with ICE.
Still, there is no uniform rule for how local law enforcement or other government entities can engage in immigration enforcement. And so informal collusion persists, such as when local law enforcement tell ICE officials about immigrants’ arrests for other violations or their releases from prison.
What next?: The New York for All Act would expand on the Protect Our Courts Act and other measures that have been put in place to protect immigrants. The New York City council passed a resolution in support of the bill last week.
Zachary Ahmad, a senior policy counsel at the New York Civil Liberties Union, worked on drafting the legislation. He tells me he and other advocates are optimistic it will pass this session.
“This bill really takes the best practices of what has already been passed at the statewide level in other places like California, Oregon, Washington, Illinois,” he said. “These are tried and true policy reforms.”
The bill’s key targets include:
• Shutting down a key part of the deportation pipeline by ending automatic transfers of people who’ve been arrested often for low level offenses into ICE custody and bar jails from telling ICE when a person is going to be released.
• Ending the 287 (G) agreement in New York’s Rensselaer County, and prohibiting any future agreements anywhere else in New York State. Read more about 287 (G) here.
• Prohibiting the use of public resources for immigration enforcement. The legislation would ensure that government employees can’t spend their time on duty assisting ICE, and would prevent personal information, such as immigration status, from being shared with immigration authorities.
• Reducing fear immigrants and people in mixed status families live with: “When people know that their local officials collude with ICE, it creates a chilling effect that discourages them from interacting with any government agency, or even other services that they perceive to be tied to the government,” explains Ahmad.
An urgent need: “New York State is already behind the curve in disentangling from immigration enforcement on a statewide level,” says Ahmad. “When you look at what’s happening at the federal level, with so little movement made in terms of passing meaningful immigration reform, there’s a real urgency to get this done now.”
Read more on the fight to pass the bill with other advocates who aim to ensure everyone can access local resources and engage with public officials without fear.
Other stories we’re following
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Texas Gov. Abbott is busing immigrants to the Capitol. It hasn’t caused the chaos he predicted: The goal was to draw attention to claims of failed immigration policies’ along the border, but migrants have expressed gratitude for the chartered bus ride. — New York Times
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