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Thursday 19 October 2017
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NYS Attorney General Gives Sanctuary Cities Legal Guidance to Protect Immigrants

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By Staff

 

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New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has provided local governments and law enforcement agencies with guidance on how to become “sanctuary jurisdictions,” in an effort to protect immigrants from deportation under President-elect Donald Trumps’s new administration.

Attorney General Schneiderman said the model laws and policies, if voluntarily enacted by a local government, would codify “sanctuary” policies into local law.

“Public safety relies on trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” Schneiderman stated. “No local law enforcement agency should have to undercut that trust just to carry out Donald Trump’s draconian immigration policies. The legal guidance and model policies my office released today give local governments the tools they need to protect immigrant communities from any over-reach by federal agencies. New York has a long history of welcoming immigrants and embracing diversity. Now, more than ever, we must stand up for our values of inclusion and pluralism.”

Cities throughout the state, including both Rochester and Syracuse, have pledged to become “sanctuary cities” for immigrants, and enact laws to limit their participation in the federal government’s immigration enforcement policies.

The attorney general offered the following alternatives to New York agencies, in lieu of new federal immigration enforcement efforts:

(1) Refusing to enforce non-judicial civil immigration warrants issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) or Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”);

(2) Protecting New Yorkers’ Fourth Amendment rights by denying federal requests to hold uncharged individuals in custody more than 48 hours;

(3) Allowing limited access of ICE and CBP agents to individuals currently in custody, and;

(4) Limiting information gathering and reporting that will be used exclusively for federal immigration enforcement.

Both Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said they intend to implement the policies.

“Rochester is the home of Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, so the fight for inclusion and equality is nothing new to us,” Mayor Warren stated. “As an African American woman and the child of an immigrant, I am keenly aware of what discrimination feels like, and equally aware that it has no place or part in the ‘American Dream.’ In 1986, the Rochester City Council passed a resolution declaring us a ‘City of Sanctuaries,’ and I intend to ask our current city council to bring this resolution up to date, and reflect some of Attorney General Schneiderman’s recommendations. I want to make it clear that, in Rochester, we are one community that is united and strengthened by our diversity, and no citizens should be denied access to jobs, safe and vibrant neighborhoods, or quality educational opportunities simply because of who they are.”

“Cities have long been welcoming and inclusive places, and I am proud Syracuse is standing with our immigrant brothers and sisters in that tradition of diversity,” Mayor Miner stated. “As long as I am mayor, we will not use our resources to enforce federal anti-immigrant policies. I appreciate the attorney general standing with cities like Syracuse, and offering his support as we make these decisions for our citizens.”

Schneiderman said the provisions would insulate local authorities from potential legal liability, as well as help local governments spend less funds on federal immigration efforts.

Visit https://ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/guidance.concerning.local_.authority.particpation.in_.immigration.enforcement.1.19.17.pdf to view Schneiderman’s policies in full.

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