Sept 25, 2017
This morning, Governor Cuomo signed an executive order preventing New York State agencies from gathering and sharing the immigration status of New Yorkers with whom they come into contact.
This is an enormous victory for Make the Road New York, whose members have been organizing and advocating for this policy for more than a decade, and for our incredible allies.
It means immigrant New Yorkers can interact with state agencies without fear of having their information turned over to ICE (federal immigration enforcement). Specifically, the executive order will prevent state employees from asking about immigration status in most cases and preventing the sharing of most personal information with federal authorities. For virtually all state agencies, this means that they can only ask about immigration status if necessary to determine eligibility for a benefit or if otherwise required by law. For law enforcement agencies, inquiring about immigration status will be prohibited except for narrow circumstances where knowing a suspect’s immigration status is directly relevant to a criminal investigation.
This moment is due to the inspiring work of our own members and allies like the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at the Cardozo School of Law, 32BJ SEIU, the New York Immigration Coalition, and the Liberty Act Coalition.
But we need your help to build on today’s victory. We hope this signals the Governor’s readiness to move swiftly on the broader set of priorities that would truly fulfill our state’s progressive promise in the age of Trump. That must include a course correction on misguided strategies to deal with gang violence that the Governor announced this week. Young people there are already being harassed daily by police, wrongfully accused of gang affiliation, and swept into a school-to-deportation pipeline as a result. The Governor’s announced plans would further criminalize immigrant youth on Long Island. We expect that he will reserve course as we work together to identify the true solutions to violence impacting immigrant communities.
Let’s be clear: we stand against officers under any circumstance asking about status or in any way aiding the Trump deportation machine.
Today we celebrate this historic victory and promise: our communities will continue to organize and proclaim, “We are here to stay.”
— Javier H. Valdés & Deborah Axt, Co-Executive Directors