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Our City Our Vote Lawsuit Heard in New York Courthouse

Fisayo Okare

Jun 07, 2022

Advocates, local officials and community members pop off confetti during a rally celebrating gaining a super majority in the City Council for the Our City, Our Vote Legislation at Corona Plaza on Thursday, June 17, 2021.

This summary about Our City Our Vote was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

Immigrant advocates gathered Tuesday outside the Staten Island Courthouse ahead of the start of proceedings surrounding the lawsuit against the Our City, Our Vote Local Law 11-2022, an immigrant voters rights bill. 

Background: The law was enacted in January, and allows permanent residents and those authorized to work in the U.S. who are living in New York City become eligible to participate in municipal elections starting 2023. 

Shortly after: Republican leaders led by Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the law and restrict immigrant voters’ access to the ballot box. They argued that the law violates the state constitution and state election laws.

“What we’re doing is not something foreign or unique,” Murad Awawdeh, New York Immigration Coalition executive director, told Documented “We’re restoring the right to go for folks who used to be able to do so.”

Several states permitted noncitizen voting in the early 20th century, and as recently as 2003, New York City public-school parents could vote for the school board, regardless of immigration status.

At the rally yesterday: “New York City didn’t ask me my citizenship status when it asked me to put my life on the line as a frontline pandemic nurse…as food service workers,” said Hina Naveed, an intervener. “[NYC] doesn’t ask us for our immigration status anytime there is a crisis and we need to step up as New Yorkers. So New York City should not hold our citizenship status as a barrier to our voices and our vote counting at the polls.”

Other interveners spoke out, adding that immigrant communities have paid taxes for decades, and should have a voice in how the city functions. 

Next steps: “Our side had a very strong case,” says Awawdeh of NYIC. “and now the judge will make a decision on June 27.”

Clips from the rally can be seen on this thread here, and a statement from NYIC here.

Thoughts on whether the Our City Our Vote law will survive this legal challenge? Reply to this mail.


New York

NYIC, NYLAG are offering free housing legal consultations: Today, housing lawyers will speak to participants about their housing court case, ERAP issues, harassment from their landlord, and more. — Read more here, and here

A year later, displaced Jackson Heights tenants are still waiting to return home: It is still unclear what the landlord, Kedex Properties, has repaired in the damaged property, and a move-in deadline imposed on Kedex is 7 months away. — Curbed

All charges dismissed in case of Indo-Caribbean immigrant Prakash Churaman: Churaman was convicted of murder in 2018, but his conviction was later overturned, and he had been on house arrest awaiting a new trial since. — Pix 11

Advocates condemn New York’s failure to pass pro-immigrant bills: The Immigrant Defense Project said that the legislature’s inaction signaled that ICE’s mistreatment of immigrant communities is acceptable. — Read more

Around the U.S. 

Green card wait times force adult children of work-visa recipients to return to parents’ countries: Their parents came to the U.S. with them legally as little children, but their status is now in limbo and they have little choice but to self-deport. — Wall Street Journal (Paywall)

Opinion: Uvalde massacre occurred in de facto war zone: Experts on U.S. immigration argue the Uvalde shooting emerged out of the violence that had long been inflicted on the Mexican American community in South Texas. — Palabra (opinion)

Tech corporations ask DHS to spare children from deportation: Tech leaders joined industry and lawyer associations to urge the government to protect young adults who could lose their status due to processing delays. — Reuters

Washington D.C.

Finding partner to address root causes of migration proving difficult for Harris: Despite Vice President Kamala Harris’ efforts to cultivate relationships with Central American leaders and stem migration, major roadblocks remain. — CNN

ICE to consider immigrant’s military service when taking enforcement action: ICE will consider an immigrant’s or their immediate family’s service in the military when deciding what enforcement action to take against them. — Read more

TPS for Cameroon to take effect June 7: The designation of temporary protected status for the country was published in the Federal Registrar. — Read more

Fisayo Okare

Fisayo writes Documented’s "Early Arrival" newsletter and "Our City" column. She is an MSc. graduate of Columbia Journalism School, New York, and earned her BSc. degree in Mass Comm. from Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos.




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