State lawmakers are Thursday pushed legislation that would prevent Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from making arrests at state courthouses without a warrant or court order.
The legislation, introduced by Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages and Sen. Brad Hoylman, is backed by district attorneys in Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn, as well advocacy groups like the Immigrant Defense Project, The Bronx Defenders, The Legal Aid Society of New York and the labor union 32BJ SEIU.
Supporters pointed to a report released by the Immigrant Defense Project showing an increase in courthouse arrests by ICE.
“Our judicial system is based on equity and equal accessibility to justice. Changes by federal agencies regarding the enforcement of federal immigration law have instilled significant fear in immigrant communities across New York State,” Solages said in a statement. “According to a report from the Immigrant Defense Project, courthouse arrests by ICE have dramatically risen statewide. As fewer individuals feel safe interacting with the justice system, fearing potential implications for themselves, friends or family, it becomes all the more challenging to promote public safety.”
The bill comes after lawmakers earlier this month passed the Dream Act, legislation that makes undocumented immigrants eligible for state tuition assistance.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2017 signed an executive order that prohibited state agencies from inquiring about immigration status; Cuomo wants to codify that order into state law.
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