Immigrant New Yorkers Can’t Wait: Leading Immigration Advocates, Elected Officials Demand Legislature Pass ‘New York for All’ and ‘Stop Immigration Bond Abuse’ Acts

Albany, NY—Today, alongside elected officials and impacted voices, the New York for All Coalition and Break the Shackles came together to demand the passage of the New York for All Act (S3076A/02328A) and the Stop Immigration Bond Abuse Act (S7475A/A7770B). Both bills aim to prevent the violation of immigrant New Yorkers’ rights by preventing police and local law enforcement in New York from conspiring with ICE and protecting immigrant communities from predatory immigration bond companies.

Following a march kicking off earlier at East Capitol Park and ending inside the Capitol at the LCA pressroom, elected officials and coalition members spoke about how immigrant communities across the state have been torn apart by the fear of deportation and exploitation. Immigrant New Yorkers shared their horrendous experiences with ICE and predatory bond companies and their struggles to fully contribute to their families and communities without fear of retaliation.

Valladolid is a 32-year-old mother of four who has lived in Buffalo for over a year. In October 2020, shortly after she and her children came to New York, her husband was pulled over on his way to work. Despite her husband providing the officer with the car’s proper paperwork and his Mexican drivers license, the officer proceeded to call immigration. Valladolid’s husband was detained for over a week. Still new to this country, Valladolid was unsure who could help her and was finally able to receive some assistance from her husband’s boss who hired an attorney. Two years later, Valladolid and her family still become anxious when police officers approach them, fearing they could be detained. Like many New Yorkers in her position, Valladolid urges state legislators to ensure that police do their jobs in protecting the communities they serve without any biases.

“The NY for All Act is a matter of the urgent need to protect immigrant New Yorkers. ICE is often needlessly separating and disrupting families in our communities. In the state legislature, we must respond to the calls of our colleagues and constituents across the state by passing the New York for All Act this year. Let’s take this action to ensure that ICE can’t weaponize local law enforcement, and to enable immigrant New Yorkers to engage with government services without fear,” said New York State Senator Julia Salazar.

“The collusion between local and state law enforcement officers and ICE diminishes the resources meant for our communities and makes us less safe,” said New York State Assembly Member Karines Reyes, R.N. “New York’s law enforcement’s complicity only contributes to the violent disruption and terror that ICE levies against our neighbors, family members, and friends. Everyone deserves to live a harassment-free life.”

“The Stop Immigration Bond Abuse Act is critically needed to protect immigrant New Yorkers’ privacy, safety, and dignity. Vulnerable New Yorkers should not have to choose between being separated from their loved ones and subjecting themselves to unscrupulous companies that exploit their fear for profit. SIMBAA will prohibit private companies from using oppressive electronic shackles and charging exorbitant interest rates and fees on immigration bonds. Ending predatory bond practices is critical to creating a safer and more humane immigration system that allows our immigrant communities to live free from exploitation and abuse,” said New York State Senator Jamaal Bailey.

“New York has a long history of welcoming immigrants, providing them with a chance for a prosperous life. We must continue that honorable legacy by passing the New York for All Act, which would ensure immigrants a life in our state without fear of harassment based on immigrant status and help build a safer New York,” said New York State Senator Rachel May.

“Throughout New York State immigrant families have suffered in detention centers while businesses have profited over their pain. I'm proud to carry the Stop Immigration Bail Abuse Act (SIMBAA) in the Assembly so that we can end this predatory practice. New Yorkers should not have to pay these exorbitant fees on immigration bonds, while also wearing torturing shackles and being surveilled,” said New York Assembly Member Harvey Epstein.

“This year’s budget failed to include many key legislative initiatives aimed at protecting and uplifting immigrant New Yorkers. It’s time New York takes meaningful action to support our immigrant communities, including barring police and local officials in our state from conspiring with ICE and protecting immigrants from predatory immigration bond companies. I’m proud to co-sponsor both the New York For All Act and Stop Immigration Bond Abuse Act in the Assembly, and I urge my colleagues in the Assembly to pass both vital pieces of legislation before this session ends,” said New York State Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas. “It’s time we send a clear message that immigrant New Yorkers can’t wait!”

“New York families and communities deserve the right to know that their government will protect them and provide them with the safety and security they are entitled to. It is horrendous that immigrant communities continue to be subjected to the cruel abuses and terror of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP),” said Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition. “State lawmakers need to pass these bills and make it clear they stand with all immigrant New Yorkers so that they have the chance to live safely in their homes.”

"For too long, we have allowed for-profit immigration bond companies to go unregulated," said Robert Agyemang, New York Director of African Communities Together. "These predatory bond companies have been allowed to charge exorbitant fees on immigration bonds, forcing many under these bonds to wear ankle shackles and suffer the shame and injustice of paying for the right to be SHACKLED. This is another disturbing example of the cycle of exploitation and abuse that vulnerable immigrant families endure within our broken immigration system. The time is now to take a stand and pass the Stop Immigration Bond Abuse Act (SIMBAA). IMMIGRANT FAMILIES CANNOT WAIT!”

"New York has fallen far behind other states in ensuring that our immigrant neighbors can receive medical care, go to school, and live their daily lives without fearing that they may be handed over to ICE and torn from their communities,” said Zach Ahmad, Senior Policy Counsel for the New York Civil Liberties Union. “Given Washington’s failure to improve our immigration system, New York needs to reject ICE’s cruel agenda and create a safer, healthier New York for all of us. State leaders cannot continue to stand by and allow local agencies to prop up ICE’s deportation machine. We call on the legislature to pass New York for All this year."

“The time is now for the state legislature to establish long overdue protections for immigrant New Yorkers, who currently face permanent separation from their loved ones because of state and local agencies conspiring with ICE. In 2022, it is indefensible that we continue to accept the entanglement of our state and local systems with ICE," said Jose Chapa, Senior Policy Associate, of the Immigrant Defense Project. "Failing to pass this legislation enables racial profiling, harrassment, and threats by people in the public sector acting under color of law. We demand a New York where everyone can access local resources and engage with public officials without fear.. We call on the legislature to pass the New York for All Act this year."

“Predatory bond companies are getting rich while shackling immigrants with financial pain and intrusive surveillance devices,” said Carl Hamad-Lipscombe, executive director of Envision Freedom Fund. “Unfortunately, unaffordable immigration bonds—as much as $15,000 or more in some cases—force many families to choose debt in order to free their loved ones from immigration detention. It’s long past time to end this exploitation and surveillance of immigrant New Yorkers. The Stop Immigrant Bond Abuse Act is urgently needed to cap excessive fees, end mandatory electronic monitoring, and prevent deceptive contracts. Regulating this bond industry is a necessary common sense action that will support the rights of immigrant New Yorkers, their families, and communities.”

“Immigration enforcement continues to separate families, destabilize our communities, and jeopardize the state’s recovery from the pandemic,” said Shayna Kessler, state advocacy manager at the Vera Institute of Justice. “With only a few days left in the legislative session, New York must seize a historic opportunity to proclaim it will no longer conspire in this cruelty. We can do this by passing, among other bills, the New York For All Act, which will stop state resources from being used to support federal immigration enforcement, significantly limiting ICE’s ability to harass, detain, and deport New Yorkers. We urge the legislature to pass this bill and advance New York’s leadership in support of dignity, liberty, and fairness for all.”

"Immigrant New Yorkers should not have to live under constant fear of surveillance and threat that their lives, as they know it, could end at any moment,” said Carol Larancuent, Policy Advocate at The Bronx Defenders. “The State legislature needs to pass the New York for All Act to protect immigrant families from being targeted and funneled into ICE detention centers, where immigrant New Yorkers are currently being detained, neglected, and emotionally and psychologically abused. This must end now.”

For background:

The New York for All Act (S.03076/A.02328) broadly prohibits state and local officers from enforcing federal immigration laws, funneling people into ICE custody, and sharing sensitive information with federal immigration authorities. It prohibits ICE and CBP from entering non-public areas of state and local property without a judicial warrant. It also ensures that people in custody are given notice of their rights before being interviewed by ICE, and starts the process of limiting ICE and CBP access to state information databases.

The Stop Immigration Bond Abuse Act (S.7475A/A,7770B) comprehensively regulates for-profit immigration bond companies by prohibiting for-profit immigration bond companies from imposing electronic shackles and surveillance, capping exorbitant fees and charges on immigration bonds, and cracking down on deceptive contracts and abusive practices.