The fervent pounding of drums and pleading from immigrant New Yorkers rang outside the state Capitol with growing demands for legislators to increase protections against deportation before session ends next week.
The New York for All Act would limit state and local law enforcement from using resources to aid U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents disclosing a person's citizenship or immigration status to U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement in efforts to curb deportation. The bill would prohibit state or local law enforcement, peace officers, school resource officers, state agencies, state employees and probation agencies from disclosing a person's immigration status, nationality, country of origin or corresponding release or court dates as part of ICE investigations, interrogations and inquiries.
The proposed measure does not prohibit officers from complying with valid court orders or federal judicial warrants.
Bill sponsor state Sen. Julia Salazar, a Brooklyn Democrat, said her New York for All Act is urgently needed to protect immigrant New Yorkers.
“ICE is often needlessly separating and disrupting families in our communities," Salazar said. "In the state Legislature, we must respond to the calls of our colleagues and constituents across the state by passing the New York for All Act this year. Let’s take this action to ensure that ICE can’t weaponize local law enforcement, and to enable immigrant New Yorkers to engage with government services without fear."
Hundreds of immigrant New Yorkers are detained in up to 76 different ICE detention facilities statewide. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained 25,000 immigrants across the U.S. in the first three months of 2021.
“New York’s law enforcement’s complicity only contributes to the violent disruption and terror that ICE levies against our neighbors, family members and friends," said state Assemblymember Karines Reyes, a Bronx Democrat. "Everyone deserves to live a harassment-free life.”
The New York For All Act has sat in the Senate Codes and Assembly Ways and Means committees since January.
The Stop Immigration Bond Abuse Act would restrict bond companies that monitor immigration bail from electronic monitoring or disclosing payment source to lawyers referred to represent immigration bail clients.
Immigrants who cannot afford cash bail often rely on immigration bond companies. Immigration bond companies can charge bailees upwards of $420 per month for operating fees and electronic ankle monitor costs. The devices cost an average of $120 per month. The average wait time in state immigration court is more than two years.
The median bond granted in New York immigration cases is $7,500 — 50% more than the median bail amount set in felony criminal cases and nearly seven times greater than bail set for non-felony crimes, according to the bill.
The bill, which advanced to the Assembly Ways and Means Committee and was recommitted to the Senate Insurance Committee this week, would also cap immigration bond premiums.
“This year’s budget failed to include many key legislative initiatives aimed at protecting and uplifting immigrant New Yorkers," said Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas, a Democrat from Queens. "It’s time New York takes meaningful action to support our immigrant communities, including barring police and local officials in our state from conspiring with ICE and protecting immigrants from predatory immigration bond companies."
González-Rojas sponsors both proposed measures and said she is spending the last few days of session urging Assembly colleagues to pass both pieces of legislation before scheduled session ends June 2.
“It’s time we send a clear message that immigrant New Yorkers can’t wait," she said.