Immigrant Advocates Rally for New York for All Act to Keep ICE Out of Our Communities

Immigrant Advocates Rally for New York for All Act to Keep ICE Out of Our Communities

Photo courtesy: Diana

Livestream is available here.

Albany, NY—Today, the New York For All coalition, elected officials, community members, and allies rallied and held a press conference at the Million Dollar Staircase to call for the passage of the New York For All Act (S987 Gounardes / A5686 Reyes).

All New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, want to lead open lives, participate in their communities, and provide for their family without intimidation. The New York for All Act offers protections that help make this possible by prohibiting all local law enforcement and state agencies from conspiring with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), or participating in its cruelty.

The current anti-immigrant climate heightens the urgency of the need to pass the New York For All Act before the end of the legislative session. The looming threat of a second Trump Administration only underscores this urgent need further. Donald Trump has explicitly threatened to deploy local law enforcement to deport all undocumented immigrants in the United States, an estimated 11 million people.

“True public safety comes from policies that invest in our communities and keep families together,” said Senator Andrew Gounardes, District 26. “By passing my ‘New York For All’ Act and prohibiting state and local officers from working and sharing sensitive information with ICE, we ensure all New Yorkers feel comfortable calling for help in a police, fire or medical emergency. We strengthen the rule of law by ensuring those accused of crimes receive the rights they deserve. We guarantee our local resources are directed toward investigating real crimes and responding to emergencies. We protect our neighbors from the threats of a potential future Trump administration, and from the fear that they could be torn away from their families, their communities, and the home they’ve built. We create a New York that’s truly safe for all.”

“We already know that ICE collusion with local law enforcement and state agencies separates families, undermines trust in the institutions that are supposed to serve us, and weakens local economies. The New York for All Act would help protect us from these outcomes, delivering immigrant communities the respect they deserve and making our broader communities safer and more prosperous,” said Senator Julia Salazar, District 18.

“New York is a state where we want our immigrants to feel free to lead open lives, participate fully in their communities, provide for their family, and access health care without intimidation. Keeping local law enforcement separate from federal immigration enforcement is critical to protecting the rights of all New Yorkers and building trust with immigrant communities in our state. As the daughter of an immigrant, I am proud to support Senate Bill S987 as a way to ensure that state and local government officials and law enforcement remain focused on administering state public services under the laws of New York State and its municipalities, and to not get tied into the enforcement of federal immigration law,” said Senator Samra Brouk, District 55. 

“I firmly believe in protecting the rights and dignity of all NewYorkers, regardless of their immigration status. By prioritizing compassion and justice, we uphold the values of inclusivity and solidarity that define our state, and we take a crucial step toward fostering trust and safety within our communities,” said Senator Kristen Gonzalez, District 59.

“Over the last two years, we in New York have committed to fostering a welcoming environment to migrants and those fleeing persecution. As the child of an immigrant, I am ashamed that our state has not measured up to protecting all migrants and lived up to the potential of being a sanctuary state. So many of our leaders have not stepped up enough in the face of anti-migrant attacks, specifically immigrants coming from non-Western countries. We must not lose sight that this beautifully diverse state is powered and sustained by migrants from all over the world. If New York is to truly be a sanctuary for immigrants, refugees, and those looking for a better and safer life, then we must advance life-saving policies and invest in these communities. Criminalizing people for seeking critical health care is the antithesis of who we say we are as a state. Let’s keep families together and protect our immigrant neighbors,” said Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas, District 34.

“Immigration enforcement is not the job of local law enforcement, and it is in everyone’s interest to clarify this distinction in our laws. To do otherwise creates a conflict with public safety goals — by discouraging immigrants from reporting crimes in our communities, and by incentivizing racial profiling that can mistakenly sweep up citizens. Given the risks to our safety and rights, and the strains on our already over-extended police force, these amendments will ensure that our resources support the core mission of local law enforcement,” said Assembly Member MaryJane Shimsky, District 92.

All New Yorkers deserve to feel safe in their communities, but immigrant New Yorkers cannot feel safe if ICE can collude with  local law enforcement to tear apart families at a moment’s notice. Donald Trump has made it abundantly clear that he will deploy local enforcement to pursue his radical agenda. New York lawmakers must act to keep our workers and communities safe before it is too late,” said Murad Awawdeh, President and CEO, New York Immigration Coalition.

“Passing a law to end state cooperation with ICE is not a radical idea. Multiple states, including New Jersey, Washington, California, Illinois, and Oregon, have all passed similar laws because doing so ensures the well-being and safety of all residents. New York State stands now at a similar crossroads. It can choose to ignore the growing racist and xenophobic rhetoric pervading the state, or it can pass the New York for All Act and stand against it in the most meaningful and proven way possible. As public defenders who see first-hand the consequences of a mounting and unchecked anti-immigrant agenda, there is only one course: pass NY4A before session ends,” said Rosa Cohen-Cruz, Immigration Policy Director, The Bronx Defenders.

“Over the past several months we have witnessed racist anti-immigrant rhetoric and attacks against our immigrant communities. We are at a dire crossroads and the consequences of inaction by our legislature will have devastating impacts on the future of immigrant families, workers, and the larger community. Furthermore, there is overwhelming support for the bill. Hundreds of community members, advocates, and allies from various movement spaces including labor, reproductive justice, gender-based violence, and criminal justice groups across NY showed up in Albany throughout this session to urge the passage of New York for All. Yet, legislators have not taken the necessary steps to ensure the safety and protection of immigrant New Yorkers by passing this critical piece of legislation. When local agencies conspire with ICE, it further criminalizes and targets immigrant communities, and exacerbates the existing harms of our carceral and policing systems. Instead of using state resources to criminalize New Yorkers and carry out ICE’s agenda, our state legislature should prioritize passing robust solutions and protections like NY4All that center the safety and well-being of all communities. The time for New York for All is now!” said Linda Flor Brito, Senior Policy & Campaigns Organizer, Immigrant Defense Project. 

“With an uncertain November election looming, New York needs to do everything in its power to solidify protections for our immigrant neighbors before the end of session,” said Zach Ahmad, Senior Policy Counsel, New York Civil Liberties Union. “By prohibiting the collusion between ICE & local law enforcement, the New York for All Act offers immigrants the chance to lead open lives, provide for their families, and access healthcare — free from harassment or intimidation. Time is ticking to pass this critical legislation before November — legislators must pass it immediately.”

“In a climate of fearmongering and xenophobic attacks on immigrants, New York needs to take a stand to defend the immigrant communities that make up the fabric and vitality of our state. Passing the New York for All Act will allow New York to place limits on the use of state resources for the harmful family separation, detention, and deportation of federal immigration enforcement. It is critical for our state to ensure that immigrant New Yorkers—newcomers and longtime residents alike—can fully participate in public life without fear,” said Shayna Kessler, Associate Director of Advocacy, the Vera Institute of Justice’s Advancing Universal Representation initiative.

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