Jumaane D. Williams wants legislation to protect Caribbean nationals from immigration enforcement

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Jumaane-D.-Williams

NEW YORK, NY – Caribbean American New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams has called for passage of the New York For All Act to strengthen protections for the Caribbean and other New Yorkers against the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. 

At a recent New York City Council, Joint Hearing of the Committees on Criminal Justice and Immigration, Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, and Council Member Carlos Menchaca sponsored a city resolution supporting state legislation. 

“Despite New York City’s status as a Sanctuary City for immigrant residents, city and state law enforcement agencies have furthered ICE’s cruel and xenophobic agenda,” Williams said. 

“By needlessly inquiring about residents’ immigration status, sharing information with ICE, and directly collaborating with ICE operations, these agencies have funneled New Yorkers into ICE detention and deportation,” he added. 

“These practices break up families and communities, but the health and safety of immigrant New Yorkers at risk and run contrary to our values as a city,” Williams continued. “They must end now. If passed at the state level, in tandem with the important introductions that are being heard on the city level today, the New York for All Act would create real protections against the ICE deportation machine.” 

He said Resolution 1648 calls on the New York State Legislature to pass and Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign the New York for All Act, A2328A (Reyes) / S3076A (Salazar), “which would take important steps to end the municipal and state pipelines to ICE custody through four key provisions.” 

The Public Advocate said the first provision would prohibit state and local officers, including law enforcement and corrections officials, from enforcing federal immigration laws and inquiring about immigration status. 

“This will ensure that our state and local agencies do not act outside of their governmental jurisdictions,” he said.

Williams said the second provision would remove language in state law that requires information sharing between state and city agencies with immigration enforcement and limit ICE’s access to state informational databases. 

The third provision would require people in custody to notice their rights before being interviewed by ICE. 

Williams said the fourth provision would prohibit ICE from entering non-public areas of state or local property without a judicial warrant.

“If passed at the state level in tandem with the important introductions that are being heard on the city level today, the New York for All act would create real protections against the ICE deportation machine,” he said. “I urge members of the committee to move this resolution.” 

Earlier this year, Caribbean American Democratic Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke joined the US House of Representatives chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, urging ICE’s acting director, Tae Johnson, to stop what they described as the “targeted” deportations of Haitians. 

Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants representing the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, and Thompson (MS-02) met with Johnson.

“As members of the House Homeland Security Committee, this call was imperative,” Clarke told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC). “Haiti is facing a delicate political landscape that could cause disproportionate harm to wrongfully deported immigrants.

“As the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, I can confidently say, our immigration system is broken,” she added. “The targeted deportation to Haiti illustrates the violence exacted on immigrant communities – mainly immigrant communities of color. 

“I realize ICE must carry out its mission in line with legal precedents. However, this must be done in a way that is sensitive to humanitarian needs for recent border crossers,” Clarke continued. 

Thompson said that “as the Joe Biden administration implements immigration policies that are more in line with our American values and priorities, they must assist migrants from Haiti and take into account conditions on the ground in their country.

“Continuing with deportations to Haiti risks further destabilization, and I encourage the administration to consider all possible options to prevent further harm,” he urged. 

On January 20, 2021, US President Joe Biden issued an executive order directing the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to revise its immigration enforcement guidance to “safeguard the dignity and well-being of all families and communities.”

In response, Acting Secretary David Pekoske imposed an immediate, 100-day moratorium on the vast majority of deportations. 

But, on January 26, a Texas judge suspended President Biden’s moratorium.  

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