New York eyes becoming a sanctuary state for undocumented immigrantsApril 22, 2019
ALBANY – A bill in the state Legislature would let immigrants in the country illegally avoid detainment by federal authorities in most cases, making New York a so-called sanctuary state.
The legislation has been considered at the state Capitol for several years in various iterations, but has gained new prominence amid the federal debate over immigration and Democrats taking control of state government this year.
While several upstate cities have deemed themselves sanctuary cities because they limit enforcement of immigration laws, the bill sponsored by Sen. Jose Serrano, D-Queens, would extend the same protections statewide.
The bill introduced Thursday would prohibit New York authorities from detaining immigrants in the country illegally based on the efforts by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
What may change?
Immigration advocates have railed against ICE holding individuals after they become eligible for release because of their immigration status, not because of reasonable cause.
“This act will ensure concerns about public safety, which is the primary concern of local law enforcement, is prioritized above concerns of immigration status, which is a uniquely federal responsibility,” the bill states.
The federal Secure Communities program “has erroneously placed detainers on United States citizens, as well as immigrants who are not deportable,” the bill continues.
The move comes as President Trump recently threatened to ship undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities, which in New York including its major upstate cities, such as Rochester and Syracuse, and New York City.
“Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only,” Trump wrote April 12 on Twitter.
Joining other states
President Donald Trump says that he is "strongly looking at" the idea of transporting migrants to so-called sanctuary cities that don't cooperate with federal immigration authorities. (April 12)
At least eight states already consider themselves sanctuary states, including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, which supports restricted immigration.
In New York, efforts to expand rights to immigrants faced opposition from the Republican-led Senate.
But after Democrats won Senate control last November, the party now runs both chambers of the Legislature and the governor’s office.
It’s unclear whether Serrano’s bill will pass in Albany, though. It currently doesn’t have an Assembly sponsor.
“We have not discussed as a conference,” said Mike Murphy, a spokesman for the Senate Democratic conference.
Republicans ripped the proposal.
“New York Democrats won’t be happy until they abandon every basic rule or law that governs our nation and protects our citizens,” Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua, Ontario County, said in a statement.
“The sanctuary state proposal is just the latest example of political posturing that should be kept far away from public policy. The liberal mindset is so skewed, that even though New York’s residents and businesses are leaving in droves, they prefer to focus on people who are in America illegally.”
Other immigration laws in New York
Democrats have moved forward with pro-immigration legislation this year.
In January, the Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed to let immigrants brought into the country illegally as children be eligible for college tuition aid, called the Dream Act.
New York is also considering letting illegal immigrants be able to get driver’s licenses, a measure that has been debating at the Capitol since 2007.
Last week, the state courts system issued a directive that bars federal immigration officials from detaining anyone in New York courts without a judicial warrant or order.
Last year, Cuomo signed an executive order to ban ICE arrests in all executive agencies without a court order and this year wants to codify the order in state law to apply to public buildings, said spokeswoman Caitlin Girouard.
“We will continue to review any other legislation that could protect immigrants in New York from the reckless actions taken by ICE,” she said.
Source: Read Full Article