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Hochul signs Stop Immigration Bond Abuse Act, Rejects Court Notification Bill

This summary about the Stop Immigration Bond Abuse Act and Court Notification Bill was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

Gov. Kathy Hochul has acted on two bills in New York State: she signed the Stop Immigration Bond Abuse Act (SIMBAA) into law, and vetoed the Court Notification Bill. 

The Court Notification Bill: If signed, it would have required courts to inform individuals before they accepted a plea deal that could result in negative immigration consequences, including deportation, removal from the United States, and exclusion from the United States or denial of citizenship. 

“While I support the laudable goal of strengthening due process protections, the actual text goes beyond that stated purpose,” Hochul wrote in her veto memo. “Instead, the bill imposes a rigid requirement that the court deliver a specific warning about potential immigration consequences in all cases.”

She further argued that “clear due process protections for noncitizens are already in place,” and said that defense attorneys are “already required by law to advise their clients of immigration consequences of any conviction.”

Advocates of the legislation condemned Hochul’s decision to shut down the bill, saying immigrants are not always advised about the ramifications of these pleas. The legislation had passed the legislature earlier this year, and was awaiting Hochul’s signature to become law.

“Justice cannot be realized if a person standing before a judge is unaware of all the consequences to how they plead,” Nicole Catá, Director of Immigrant Rights Policy at the New York Immigration Coalition, said in a statement. “Governor Hochul’s actions deny immigrant New Yorkers the right to basic due process and fairness. Our movement will fight to override this veto.”

A two-thirds vote in the New York legislature can overturn Hochul’s decision.

The Stop Immigration Bond Abuse Act: New York immigrants will soon be protected from exploitative for-profit bond companies following the signing of this bill into law. 

Documented’s Immigration Enforcement Reporter Giulia McDonnell Nieto Del Rio broke down the bill in late May when it passed the legislature at the end of the session. It was co-sponsored by Sen. Jamaal Bailey and Assemblymember Harvey Epstein.

The new law now enables key consumer protections for immigrants in New York who have to pay bond in exchange for their freedom. The protections include the prohibition of electronic shackles, caps on excessive fees and interest rates, and the end of misleading contracts. 

“Other people will not have to go through what I went through…the experience is very bad, especially for people with children,” said ‘Angela,’ who shared her personal experience with Libre by Nexus to advocate for SIMBAA.

“No one should not have to choose between their freedom and subjecting themselves to unscrupulous companies that exploit fear for profit,” Bailey said in a statement. “This exploitative cycle creates emotional and financial strain for immigrant New Yorkers, pushes families deeper into poverty, and makes it difficult for individuals to secure their freedom.” 

Carl Hamad-Lipscombe, the executive director of Envision Freedom Fund, which helped to advocate for the immigration bond legislation, said the group is looking forward to “helping ensure the new law is implemented properly and swiftly, and to providing guidance to detained community members and their loved ones facing unaffordable bond amounts about the protections they’re now entitled to if they turn to a private bond company.”

Reporting contributions from Documented’s Immigration Enforcement Reporter, Giulia McDonnell Nieto Del Rio

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SEE MORE STORIES
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