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NY lawmakers want to prevent LE from assisting ICE

The bill would prevent state and local law enforcement from diverting resources or disclosing sensitive information to federal authorities


By Denis Slattery
New York Daily News

ALBANY — A pair of New York lawmakers and a host of advocacy groups are backing legislation that would prevent state and local police from assisting federal immigration enforcement.

New York State Sen. Julia Salazar (D- Brooklyn) and Assemblywoman Karines Reyes (D- Bronx) on Thursday announced The New York for All Act, which prohibits state and local government officials, including police and sheriffs, from diverting personnel and resources or disclosing sensitive information to federal authorities such as the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“ICE has brought fear into our communities by tearing apart families and causing immigrant New Yorkers to live in fear,” Salazar said. “We cannot allow for our state and local governments to be complicit in the systemic abuse that ICE inflicts on our communities, including preventing people from accessing essential services.”

The bill also bars ICE, a part of the Department of Homeland Security, from entering non-public areas of state and local property without a judicial warrant and mandates that people in custody are given notice of their rights before being interviewed by immigration officers.

It also requires an accounting of ICE access to state information databases, an issue that arose last year when a New York law granting undocumented immigrants the ability to apply for a driver’s license blocked the feds from Department of Motor Vehicle logs.

Advocates say many in New York’s immigrant communities are wary of interacting with local law enforcement or even seeking out medical care in the wake of the Trump administration’s focus on deportations and other actions.

That wariness can in turn undermine public health efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when trust is needed to ensure proper rollout of vaccine distribution and other life-saving measures.

The bill has the support of several prominent legal and immigration groups including the New York Civil Liberties Union and the New York Immigration Coalition.

“We must address the serious mistrust that exists in our immigrant communities toward our public institutions,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “This bill makes it unmistakably clear that we will not allow our state and local money, personnel, or machinery - whether in law enforcement or public health - to be subverted for ICE’s cruelty.”

Assemblywoman Reyes slammed ICE, saying the agency has “relied on the collusion of state and local law enforcement to terrorize our hard-working immigrant communities of color.”

“We cannot continue to allow ICE to use our local resources to wrongfully funnel people into their custody, separate families, and deport fellow New Yorkers,” she said. “We must pass the New York for All Act to keep this predatory federal agency out of our over-policed and racially profiled communities of color.”

An ICE representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the legislation.

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