A proposal to bar local and state agencies in New York from assisting federal immigration enforcement agencies is winning the backing of more than two labor unions.
The unions, in a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, urged officials to sign onto the legislation, which would bar coordination with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and Customs and Border Patrol.
“For far too long, [ICE and CBP] have demonized and demoralized immigrant New Yorkers with raids and scare tactics that have cruelly separated families and harmed communities … Employers often exploit immigrant workers’ fear of deportation to discourage them from advocating for themselves against workplace abuses and to suppress organizing efforts, depressing standards for all working people. The New York For All Act offers protections that address this, by prohibiting local and state agencies from funneling people into ICE and CBP custody, sharing sensitive information, and using local resources to undertake a federal political agenda,” they wrote in the letter.
All told, 25 unions signed onto backing the bill, including 32BJ SEIU, District Council 37 and United Auto Workers, Region 9A.
New York already has measures on the books to limit ICE coordination, including prohibiting the agency from making civil arrests in courthouses. Republican legislators have in recent years opposed measures meant to bar federal immigration enforcement from working with New York officials, blasting efforts to bolster New York as a "sanctuary" state.
"We pass laws for a reason — we pass laws to protect the public," said Dean Murray, now a Republican state senator, said of a blanket sanctuary state measure in 2017. "Now we're asking our local law enforcement to just completely ignore some of those laws. That's a problem."