Immigrant Rights Advocates & Allies Rally to Keep NY Families Together via Passage of New York For All Act

The New York for All Act prohibits local law enforcement and state agencies from colluding with federal immigration authorities on immigration enforcement

Live stream is here. Photos and videos here.

New York—On Tuesday, April 25, the New York For All Coalition, elected officials and allies rallied and held a press conference at the Capitol’s Million Dollar Staircase to launch the 2023 legislative campaign for the New York For All Act (S987 Gounardes / A5686 Reyes).

All New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, deserve to lead free and open lives, participate fully in their communities, provide for their families, and access health care without fear of being ripped from their families at a moment’s notice. The New York for All Act prohibits  local law enforcement and state agencies from conspiring with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), or participating in their cruelty.

The New York For All Act has advanced out of the Codes Committee in the Assembly, and has received 32 co-sponsors in the Senate.

"All New Yorkers deserve the right to move through their daily lives in peace, whether it's commuting to work or picking their children up from school," said Senator Andrew Gounardes. "The New York For All Act would give immigrant New Yorkers this peace -- and passing it into law is long overdue. I'm proud to sponsor this bill in the Senate, and I won't stop fighting for it until we get it done."

“For far too long, ICE has relied on the collusion of law enforcement to scrutinize our essential hard-working immigrant communities of color,” said Assemblymember Karines Reyes. “We must pass the New York for All Act to prevent ICE from using our local resources to wrongfully place people into their custody, separate families, and deport fellow New Yorkers. Our communities of color are over-policed and racially profiled to continue having a predatory federal agency prowling the streets."

"As the state assemblymember of one of the largest immigrant communities in the country, I see firsthand every day the hard work and contributions they make to our society. Sadly, over the years, we have seen increased acts of abuse against immigrants, from raids to family separation. It is wrong and immoral. No one should ever have to live in fear of being arrested or deported. I am proud to support the New York for All Act because we are a nation of immigrants, and everyone should be welcomed here with open arms," said Assemblymember Kenny Burgos. 

"The New York for All Act (A5686/S987) helps our immigrant communities feel safer and protected. New York will continue to stand as a safe haven for all immigrants. I am proud to support this bill, which ensures that we limit what state agencies can share with the government, especially ICE. This protects our immigrant families from the daily fear of being taken away from their loved ones or the lives they built here due to ICE's invasive approach to immigration enforcement. We stand with and protect our New York residents, no matter their immigration status," said Assemblymember Harvey Epstein.

"It's time to make New York safer for the immigrant communities that contribute so much to our state, yet receive no protections in return. Everyone deserves to access healthcare, education, and jobs, without facing threats to their family. Immigration status makes absolutely no exception. Growing up undocumented, I can understand firsthand the struggles that immigrant families face. We must create a New York that protects all its citizens, especially the most vulnerable,” said Assemblymember Marcela Mitaynes.

“I came to the U.S. from Nigeria 9 years ago, thinking of New York as a place of hope and opportunity. My life changed when I was arrested and faced a criminal charge that I wanted to contest, but members of a local police department intervened and handed me over to ICE, resulting in a nightmare where I was in ICE detention for 10 months.” said Richard, a community member from Oswego. “I do not want other immigrants to live with fear and anxiety that what happened to me could happen to them. The time is now to protect immigrant New Yorkers and prohibit local agencies from participating in ICE’s cruelty.”

“All New Yorkers, no matter their immigration status, deserve to live their lives without fear that everyday errands like picking up groceries, driving to work or bringing their kids to school will result in separation from their loved ones. The New York For All Act would stop local and state resources from being used to carry out Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) cruel agenda. Even today, ICE continues to lean on local law enforcement and local government agencies to search for, arrest, and  separate New York families. While other states around the country are sowing chaos for migrants seeking safety, New York must affirm its values as a welcoming state by passing the New York for All Act to ensure everyone who calls this state home has the opportunity to freely participate in their community, provide for their family, and access basic needs without fear or intimidation,” said Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition.

"Immigrants in Upstate and Western NY, especially those who work in agriculture industries such as dairy, apples and others, are at risk and have continued to feel a tremendous sense of fear due to the lack of legislation like NY4All. It is difficult to live a full life when there is anxiety at every turn and the threat of family separation is clear," said Luis Jimenez, President of Alianza Agricola.

“For years we have collectively experienced the harm that occurs when ICE targets and detains members of our communities and families. The New York for All Act is a strong, clear, enforceable mandate against New York State collaboration with ICE.” said Rosa Cohen-Cruz, Director of Immigration Policy at The Bronx Defenders. “This bill has strong support in both the Assembly and Senate and is ready to pass this year.  We must not hesitate-we must pass the New York for All Act and declare once and for all that we will not support ICE's detention, harassment, and violence against immigrant New Yorkers.”

“The New York for All Act would prevent state and local law enforcement from using local tax dollars to enforce targeted federal immigration policies without a judicial warrant, improving public safety and helping New York immigrants feel protected and participate more fully economically. Data shows similar policies in New Jersey led to a $4,353 higher median household income, a 2.3 percent lower poverty rate, and no compromise to public safety. The bill has already advanced out of the Codes Committee in the Assembly and received support from 32 co-sponsors in the Senate, thanks to Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Asm. Karines Reyes leadership. The Senate and Assembly should conference the bill without delay. We urge Gov. Kathy Hochul to continue welcoming New York’s immigrant communities by supporting this vital legislation,” said Eddie A. Taveras, Political Director of Immigration Campaigns of

"The time is now for the state legislature to establish long overdue protections for immigrant New Yorkers who face arrest and separation from their communities because of state and local agencies conspiring with ICE. It is indefensible that we continue to accept local entanglement with ICE," said Yasmine Farhang, Director of Advocacy with the Immigrant Defense Project. “As we have seen time and time again from the stories community members have shared, failing to pass this legislation enables racism, harassment and threats by people who work on behalf of our state and localities. We call on the legislature to pass the New York for All Act this year!"

“All New Yorkers deserve to live their lives with freedom, dignity, and respect — not with looming fear,” said Zach Ahmad, Senior Policy Counsel at the New York Civil Liberties Union. “Separating families, deporting people, and terrorizing immigrant communities are all a part of ICE’s agenda, and New York agencies should have no role in carrying out their cruelty. Albany has the opportunity to truly protect our neighbors: we must pass New York For All now.”

“Immigration enforcement and detention cause lasting instability and harm that radiate through communities. With more than 200,000 cases currently pending in New York’s immigration courts, there are far too many people facing the devastating prospect of detention and deportation in our state. Passing the New York for All Act will limit the number of people who face these destabilizing risks. By placing sensible limits on the ability of local governments to conspire with ICE and CBP and preventing the misuse of New York’s resources to enforce a federal immigration agenda, this legislation would help alleviate the fear that many immigrants and their families live with every day and ensure that more families remain united and strong,” said Shayna Kessler, State Advocacy Manager for the Vera Institute of Justice’s Advancing Universal Representation Initiative. 

The New York For All Coalition steering committee includes Alianza Agrícola, The Bronx Defenders,, Immigrant Defense Project, the New York Civil Liberties Union, the New York Immigration Coalition, and Vera Institute of Justice.