New York For All Act Would Limit Disclosure of Immigration Status

New York For All Act Would Limit Disclosure of Immigration Status

By Jack Arpey | Spectrum News 1

Advocates and some Democratic lawmakers are pushing for a bill that would prohibit local law enforcement and other officials from questioning individuals regarding their citizenship or immigration status, as well as sharing information about someone’s immigration status with federal enforcement officials except under certain circumstances.

Murad Awawdeh, president and CEO of the New York Immigration Coalition, told Spectrum News 1 the New York For All Act would help immigrants, regardless of status, who he says are put in an challenging position by the U.S.’s immigration system.

He argued that as a lack of reform makes it increasingly difficult for immigrants to attain status, individuals are fearful, he says, of any contact with local law enforcement which advocates say puts them in danger.

“It’s a public safety bill at the end of the day,” he said.

The bill would prohibit police officers, peace officers, school resource officers among other agencies from questioning individuals on their immigrant status along with other disclosure regulations and prevent federal enforcement activity on non public state and local property without a judicial warrant.

“We haven’t seen in nearly three decades any sort of meaningful immigration reform,” he said. “Immigrant New Yorkers carry the anxiety that living their lives in the open and interacting with government whether it be a traffic stop or attending their kids school could lead to them being torn away from their families.”

The bill has run into stiff opposition from Republican lawmakers like state Sen. Patrick Gallivan who argue that if law enforcement becomes aware that someone is breaking the law, they should report it.

“If it’s a state law, obviously it’s for them to enforce, but if it’s a federal statute, I think our law enforcers have an obligation to reach out to partners in federal government and pass that information along,” he said “We were critical law enforcement at at every level for living and working in silos after Sept. 11 and it made us and our country, and our citizens vulnerable.”

Awawdeh responded by clarifying that the bill doesn’t eliminate collaboration between agencies, it only galvanizes the threshold for when that collaboration can take place.

“If local law enforcement is asked for support from federal authorities it should be based on a judicial warrant not simply being asked to do it,” he said.

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