Immigrant Advocates Rally for New York For All Act to Keep Families and Communities Safe

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

Photos/video available here. Livestream available here.

Albany, NY—Today, the New York For All coalition, elected officials, community members, and allies rallied and held a press conference at the Million Dollar Staircase to call for the passage of the New York For All Act (S987 Gounardes / A5686 Reyes).

All New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, want to lead open lives, participate in their communities, and provide for their family without intimidation. The New York for All Act offers protections that help make this possible by prohibiting all local law enforcement and state agencies from conspiring with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), or participating in its cruelty.

With only weeks left of the legislative session, and the looming 2024 presidential election, it’s more critical than ever to enact New York for All to protect our communities and keep families together.

"With the 'New York for All' Act, we have an opportunity to protect immigrant communities, create a fairer justice system and ensure true public safety for all," said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. "By prohibiting local law enforcement from conspiring with ICE and Border Patrol, we allow parents to attend parent-teacher conferences, go to the grocery store, or visit public hospitals without worrying their family will be torn apart by deportation. The stakes are immensely high: Donald Trump has announced extremist proposals to carry out sweeping raids and deputize local police to detain immigrants on a mass scale if he is re-elected to the presidency. The time to protect our communities and build a New York that unites families instead of dividing them is now."

“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, Chair of the NYS Assembly & Senate’s Puerto Rican / Hispanic Task Force. “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."

“All New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status or how long they have been in our state, want to feel safe, participate in their communities, provide for their family, and access health care without intimidation,” said Murad Awawdeh, President and CEO, New York Immigration Coalition. “The New York For All Act offers landmark civil protections that help make this possible. At a moment’s notice and without cause, non-citizen New Yorkers can be torn from their families and detained for something as simple as a traffic violation or for calling 911 in an emergency. We must remove our state’s role in the broken immigration system by passing New York For All before this legislative session closes.”

“Passing the New York for All Act will allow New York to join other states around the country in placing common-sense limits on the use of state resources for federal immigration enforcement,” said Rosie Wang, Program Manager, Vera Institute of Justice’s Advancing Universal Representation initiative. “Detention and deportation separates families and destabilizes communities while the threat of immigration enforcement inhibits immigrants’ ability to fully participate in public life. In the face of heightened anti-immigrant rhetoric, New York has an opportunity to advance policy that protects our immigrant neighbors and prevents harmful collusion with ICE.”

“New York state is long overdue in passing legislation that protects our immigrant communities from ICE’s cruel agenda,” said Linda Flor Brito, Senior Policy & Campaigns Organizer, Immigrant Defense Project. “Thousands of New Yorkers face imminent risk of being separated from their families and funneled into the deportation machine through our existing entanglement laws that enable collusion between ICE and local law enforcement. We must end this gross misuse of our state’s resources and instead prioritize community based solutions that will actually keep our communities safe. The New York for All Act creates fundamental protections that make all our communities stronger and protects workers, families, survivors of violence, and all immigrant communities - especially Black and brown immigrant communities who are disproportionately impacted. This bill has incredibly diverse support, from labor unions and criminal justice groups, to those advocating for domestic violence survivors and access to  reproductive justice. With a looming presidential election, the time to pass New York for All is NOW! Our elected officials must show courage and use their political will this session to pass this critical legislation and ensure the safety and dignity of ALL New Yorkers.”

“Every New Yorker deserves to live with freedom, dignity, and respect, not with the looming fear of law enforcement,” said Zach Ahmad, Senior Policy Counsel, New York Civil Liberties Union. “By prohibiting collusion between ICE & local law enforcement, New York For All offers immigrants the chance to lead open lives, provide for their families, and access healthcare — free from harassment or intimidation. As local politicians spread anti-immigrant rhetoric across our state and the presidential election inches closer, it’s past time that Albany lawmakers took action to truly protect our neighbors. We must pass New York For All.”

"Ending New York's collusion with ICE's cruelty will not only protect the rights and liberty of non-citizens in the short term, but ultimately increase cooperation with government actors in the long term," said Rosa Cohen-Cruz, Immigration Policy Director at The Bronx Defenders. "New York must join New Jersey, Maryland, California, Illinois, and Colorado in recognizing that complicity with ICE's cruelty does not make us safer, only complicit in a system of surveillance and punishment that history will one day judge a moral and political catastrophe."

More Context

Municipalities that limit ICE collusion are proven to have economic benefits for all and to be safer than those that divert their local resources to ICE’s anti-immigrant agenda. Over 60 percent of home healthcare workers and aides for the elderly are immigrants, and some of the most likely first jobs for asylum seekers include nursing assistants, child care workers, and construction workers — some of the most critical, hard-to-fill jobs.The New York For All Act will support and protect our neighbors, colleagues, friends, and family by quelling the fear that simply going to work or seeking help in an emergency could result in them being torn from family. The time is now for Albany to pass New York for All.