I believe in creating a New York for all, regardless of country of origin or citizenship status. As the son of an immigrant who lived here undocumented for 20 years, I have seen first-hand the challenges and hurdles immigrants are forced to overcome to even begin creating a life in the country. In the face of constant attacks on immigrants by the federal government, alongside the criminalization of immigrants by police and prosecutors, and historically failed efforts to pass national comprehensive immigration reform, we have a responsibility to defend and expand the civil rights of all New Yorkers, regardless of citizenship status.
I believe in universal rights for all people, and that the state has a responsibility to provide the people with the resources to have these rights fulfilled. Immigrants have always made our communities stronger, and we must ensure that they have access to the resources and protections they need to build a safe and fulfilling life.
As a state senator, I will fight for:
- Protection for immigrants in our courts (S425A). Since 2016, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has targeted state courthouses to detain and deport undocumented immigrants. This has meant that immigrants are often unwilling to go to court, preventing them from reporting crimes or serving as witnesses. The Protect Our Courts Act would prevent ICE from making arrests in or near New York State courthouses without a warrant, allowing immigrants’ safe access to the courts and equal access to the justice system.
- Expanding rights for all New Yorkers. In the face of federal persecution of immigrants, and the fear and harassment it has engendered, New York must stand up for its immigrant community, and set the bar for the rest of the country, by passing legislation to grant state citizenship, regardless of federal citizenship status, to all New Yorkers. To this end, I will fight to pass the New York Is Home Act. This legislation guarantees human rights protections to non-citizens, grants voting rights in state and local level elections, and extends access to social services, which is especially important in the face of the Trump administration’s “public charge” policy. Additionally, this legislation limits state and local collaboration, and data-sharing with federal immigration enforcement.
- Creating statewide sanctuary. While New York City is a sanctuary city and ensures that local government resources, personnel, and data are not used to aid ICE in their violent, racist targeting of immigrants, New York State does not have these protections statewide I will advocate for and support S7562, which prohibits and regulates the discovery and disclosure of immigration status by police officers and other public employees and state entities. This legislation is critical to ensuring that immigrant New Yorkers can live and work without the constant fear of their personal information being turned over to ICE.
- Ending the criminal justice to immigration enforcement pipeline. Every person in New York should be able to use the criminal justice system without fear that they may be forced to leave the country. I will advocate for New York to guarantee every New Yorker, regardless of citizenship status, the right to a jury trial and the right to be advised of immigration consequences of plea deals. I will also work to expand legal representation to all unrepresented immigrants and seek to enact a statewide right to counsel in immigration proceedings.
- Ceasing state business with ICE. I will fight to end state contracts with companies that contract with the federal Department of Homeland Security and ICE and that share data with ICE. Further, I will work to decertify banks that contract with, or fund, ICE.
- Strengthening labor rights for immigrants. All workers, no matter where they were born, deserve to work in safe environments and free from the fear that they will be exploited and underpaid. To that end, I will advocate for:
- Extending labor rights to all workers regardless of immigration status or occupation because every New Yorker deserves the right to unionize, workplace protections, and fair wages;
- The SWEAT Act, which would ensure workers can collect on wage theft judgements and would greatly benefit immigrant workers who are often harassed, exploited and stolen from by employers under threat of deportation;
- The EmPIRE Act, which would empower and protect workers’ ability to bring public enforcement action against labor violations, in the face of the silencing and exploitation of forced arbitration by employers;
- Ensuring fair labor practices for domestic workers, including fair pay for home health care workers and an end to 24-hour workdays, by supporting S6640;
- Increase workplace safety regulations and resources to anonymously report unsafe conditions for union and nonunion workplaces, especially construction sites.
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