ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)–At the Capitol, advocates called on the state legislature to pass New York For All, legislation that would prohibit local law enforcement from asking about people’s citizenship or immigration status and then work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE.
“I don’t want my local police dollars to be wasted, rounding up people who they think or suspect are here without status. I’d rather my local law enforcement work on solving actual crimes. Work on protecting actual people in communities,” said Democratic Senator Andrew Gounardes.
Gounardes sponsors the bill and said jurisdictions such as New York City already do this. He wants it to be a law statewide and said if ICE has warrants, the bill wouldn’t stop them from following their process. Republican Minority Leader, Rob Ortt, is against this legislation.
“The State of New York would prohibit local law enforcement with cooperating with federal immigration officials. We in New York, whether it’s a state official or a local official we don’t get to decide what federal laws you follow and which ones you don’t, anymore than you get to decide which state laws you follow and which ones you don’t.”
Senator Gounardes believes this will help improve public safety.
“It gets rid of the culture of fear that exists in immigrant communities where people don’t want to come forward to report a crime,” said Gounardes. “Don’t want to come forward to say I have information about something. Don’t want to come forward to say I have a problem or I have a fear or I have an issue and ask for help because they are worried that by just showing up, that they are going to be at risk of deportation.”
Senator Ortt shared his views on that argument.
“So, the notion that suddenly this is a public safety bill, I just think is sort of disingenuous from an intellectual standpoint,” said Ortt.
The legislative session is set to end next Thursday.