Senator Jose Peralta, Advocates Rally for Immigrant Rights and Unveil Bill Calling for a Sanctuary New York State

Today, in light of family separations and massive deportations by the  Trump Administration, State Senator Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz (D-Kings), advocates, community leaders and neighbors urged for the passage of a bill that will establish the ‘Sanctuary State of New York.’ Under the proposal (S.7849/A.8776) introduced by Senator Peralta and Assemblyman Ortiz, state and local enforcement agencies would be prohibited from acting as agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), severely limiting the information they would be authorized to share with federal authorities. Additionally, the bill would restrict state and local agencies from cooperating with ICE to arrest or detain immigrants in New York.  

Senator Peralta and Assemblyman Ortiz also urged the United States Congress to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) for its treatment of immigrants and separating minors form their parents. The lawmakers are outraged that ICE has been used to conduct raids in accordance with “zero tolerance” as ordered by the Trump Administration. According to their proposed resolution, “ICE has become a nightmare… ICE’s mission is to enforce our laws but has turned into a force used to raid communities, detain hard-working people and to separate families.” In addition, their resolution calls to replace ICE “with an agency designed to protect our borders, ending ICE’s ability to conduct horrifying raids in our towns and cities.”

Immigration organizations, advocates, community leaders and neighbors joined Senator Peralta and Assemblyman Ortiz to demand long-overdue protections for immigrants. The group rallied at the recently transformed Corona Plaza, located at the heart of one of New York’s most diverse immigrant communities.  

Undocumented immigrants contribute about $1.1 billion to state and local taxes in New York, according to a study released by the Fiscal Policy Institute. The study points out that undocumented immigrants are responsible for about $40 billion of New York State’s economic output (GDP). They account for 11% of the leisure and hospitality industry; 9% in agriculture and construction; among other many sectors.

The bill calls for state and local law enforcement agencies to focus on community policing, instead of “rounding up hard-working, honest immigrants.”

“Now more than ever, we must protect immigrant New Yorkers from the cruel and inhumane policies ordered by the White House. Because of this current political climate, hard-working immigrants go about their daily lives with fear in their eyes. Family separations, massive deportations, this is not what we are all about. This is why we, at the state level, must ensure we become the first line of defense against these ruthless policies,” said Senator Peralta.   

Assistant Speaker Ortiz said, “It is absolutely critical for all New Yorkers to stand  up with our immigrant neighbors and draw a clear line against federal immigration attacks against our cities and communities. We cannot allow our own law enforcement agencies to assist these efforts without common sense guidelines.”

“The Center for the Integration and Advancement of New Americans (CIANA), fully supports State Senator Peralta and Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix Ortiz's efforts to establish New York as a Sanctuary State, and to urge Congress to replace ICE. As the host society, it is our duty to fight against separation of children from their parents, and the detentions and deportations of hard-working immigrants, many running from violence and trauma in their home countries, seeking a safer and better future for their families.  Instead, we must provide our new immigrants with the tools and opportunities to contribute their skills and talents and to build stronger communities,” said Emira Habiby Browne, Founder and CEO of the Center for the Integration and Advancement of New Americans (CIANA).

“In light of this administration’s zero tolerance policy, our organization has stood at safeguarding the rights of this vulnerable community. No family should ever be separated, and what we have witnessed at the border goes against the very principles of what the United States stands for. Hundreds of families have arrived at our organization panicking and not knowing what to do because of the looming uncertainty. We will continue to protect our fellow peers as they want the same as any other human, to have a better life and succeed,” said Jose Tejada, Executive Director of the Dominico-American Society of Queens.

“We can not live in a state where our neighbors live in constant fear of being detained and separated from their families, and where people are literally being picked up off the street and workplaces and disappeared from their communities,” said Manuel Castro, Executive Director of New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE). "Right now, nothing is more important than coming together to make sure our communities are protected and that our values are being upheld at all levels of government. We applaud Senator Peralta and Assistant Speaker Feliz Ortiz for introducing this bill.”