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Early Arrival: New York for All Act Gains Momentum

Plus: Hispanic Catholic leaders push U.S. senators toward immigration reform

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.

My colleagues have investigated many cases of ICE’s collusion with local officials since Documented’s early days, such as courthouse arrests

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

New York

Hispanic Catholic leaders push U.S. senators toward immigration reform: Nearly 400 Hispanic Catholic leaders met with U.S. senators to push for a citizenship pathway for DACA recipients and Temporary Protected Status holders. — Crux

Around the U.S. 

Children of temporary visa holders grew up legally in the U.S., now forced out: More than 10 years after applying for green cards, Ganesan, his wife and daughter received them. But his 21-year-old son who grew up in the U.S. missed the cutoff. — New York Times 

The border wall is causing severe injuries: New statistics attempt to measure injuries and deaths suffered while crossing the border wall, including migrants’ 30-foot falls. — The Washington Post

Republicans increasingly claim unauthorized immigrants are voting: Despite this claim being discredited several times, the GOP is finding audiences in over a dozen states. — New York Times

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 

Washington D.C.

4,000 apply to sponsor Ukrainians in 1st 48 hours: A federal program opened last week to let U.S. citizens sponsor Ukrainians, who can come to the U.S. for up to two years and apply for employment. — Yahoo

House passes bill to quickly equip Ukraine to fight Russian invasion: The bill passed by an overwhelming 417-10 vote, now goes to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign into law. — AP News

Biden had ‘constructive’ talk with Mexico’s president about immigration restrictions: Mexican officials have been worried about phasing out Title 42; Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard is set to visit Washington today. — Reuters

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