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New York State Senator Announces Legislation to Support Afghan Refugees

Plus: Hochul criminalizes threats to undocumented immigrants, and González-Rojas discusses her fight for immigration reform

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On Tuesday, New York state lawmakers announced new legislation they’re calling the “New York ❤️’s Refugees Act.” The legislation is a combination of two bills, said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. The first bill, if signed into law, would bar any New York state locality from discriminating against refugees resettled in their area. The second bill would direct the state Department of Labor to commission a study to figure out how to minimize obstacles for individuals who come to the United States with careers, professional credentials or degrees and want to utilize them to start their lives in the United States. “When they come here, they’re often forced to start from square one all over again,” Gounardes said at a virtual announcement of the legislation. Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio for Documented

In other local immigration news…

Hochul Signs Bill Criminalizing Threats to Undocumented Immigrants

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed a bill which makes it a crime, in some cases, to threaten to report an individual’s immigration status. Certain threats to report someone’s immigration status can now be classified as coercion or or extortion under New York State law.  “This legislation will protect New Yorkers from bad actors who use extortion or coercion due to their immigration status, and make our state safer against vile threats and intimidation,” Gov. Hochul said in a statement. The bill lets prosecutors charge people with a crime if they blackmail or intimidate individuals based on their legal status. CBS New York

González-Rojas Talks Fight for Immigration Reform

New York State Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas traveled to Washington D.C. last week and was arrested while participating in a peaceful protest. She joined WNYC’s The Takeaway to discuss why she’s fighting for immigration reform. “We wanted to send the message that immigrants are here to stay,” she said on the show. “This is the closest we ever got in decades of just seeing some real reform happen.” González-Rojas lamented the fact that the U.S. Senate parliamentarian, an unelected official, is blocking Democratic senators from including immigration reform in their reconciliation bill, she said. WNYC

Undocumented Immigrants Continuously Left Out of Climate Disaster Aid

After Hurricane Ida struck New York, local elected officials had to push hard to get undocumented immigrants included in government funding to help communities recover. A $27 million fund was approved, but around the country, this kind of aid is sparse. “The New York program,” Grist says, “is the first time a state or the federal government has invested in supporting undocumented immigrants after a disaster.” This Grist article looks at how undocumented immigrants are affected by climate change and climate-related disasters, and why they are often left out of any sort of federal disaster aid. Grist

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