L.I. Immigrant Advocates Win Crucial Language Access Law to Ensure Due Process in Criminal Justice System

Huntington Station, NY-Following months of advocacy, the New York Immigration Coalition, Long Island Jobs with Justice, the Long Island Language Advocates Coalition, and other advocates secured the passage of Resolution 1016, which expands the Language Access Law. County Legislator Sam Gonzalez introduced the bill in January. In June, the legislation passed the county legislature in an overwhelming 12-4 vote. Earlier this month, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone signed Resolution 1016 into law. The bill will expand multilingual resources at all Suffolk County correctional facilities allowing individuals to understand their full legal rights—including their right to refuse an interview by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. Additionally, expanded multilingual resources will let individuals communicate any medical issues quickly and effectively—a critical change during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After County Executive Bellone signed Resolution 1016 into law, Ivan Larios, Manager of Member Engagement, Long Island for the New York Immigration Coalition, issued the following statement.

“In the face of a raging global pandemic and the continued racial profiling of our immigrant communities, it is vital that every Long Islander understands their legal rights. The Language Access Law will help every New Yorker navigate Long Island’s court system, regardless of their English-proficiency. The New York Immigration Coalition thanks County Legislator Sam Gonzalez, the other co-sponsors of this vital bill, and County Executive Bellone for their work to reform the Long Island criminal justice system to ensure that every Long Islander knows their rights and has access to due process.”