Legislative sessions begin in the New York State Capitol and also the definitions of how to invest the budget of the fiscal year 2025, therefore, immigrant defense coalitions are preparing to pressure from many fronts, so that no less than five laws will not be abandonedto provide protection in the most vulnerable families.
Almost none of the legislative proposals are new. Many have remained for years “sleeping”, due to lack of support from governors, assembly members and senators.
“It is time for this vision to change. We are at a critical moment for our State, where we have received thousands of New Yorkers in need of basic services. The time is now,” he warned this Tuesday, Murad Awawdeh, president of the New York Immigrant Coalition (NYIC) in a demonstration at the state legislature in Albany.
Right to an attorney
The NYIC announced that it will intensify the campaign so that, capitalizing on last year’s historic investment in legal services, the Access to Representation Law to ensure that all immigrants have right to an attorney in Immigration Court.
This is the first law in the country that empower immigrants to protect themselves and their families.
Currently, people facing deportation charges are not guaranteed an advocate; however, those who cannot afford this service must Find a nonprofit that can help them or represent themselves.
At this time of high demand for these services, most legal support organizations are saturated and people It took them months of waiting to get an initial meeting.
This initiative will also protect who vulnerable to fraudulent schemes.
The Access to Representation Act would require the State to appoint an attorney for anyone in New York who has a case before an immigration judge or who has grounds. to appeal or request the reopening of an old deportation order.
For this year the ambition is to allocate $250 million to the New York State budget to meet the needs of this type of legal service.
In this direction, the Collector of queensCatalina Cruz joined this petition, remembering that many families have to face on the advice of the supposedly fake lawyerswhich charges thousands of dollars and People still get deported or have poorly formed requests.
“10 years ago, this program, when no one believed in it, started with $10 million. Last year we reached $60 million. Now we need to expand it to free our most vulnerable New Yorkers from unreliable legal advisers,” emphasized the Colombian.
NY for All
Likewise, it remains on the priority list of pro-immigrant coalitions to finally see the light the controversial ‘New York for All’ legislation, which fell by the wayside over the years. This bill would prohibit state and local government agencies, including police and sheriffs, from sharing information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Besides it would be illegal to allocate state resources to promote federal immigration law enforcement.
Last year the New York State Senate passed the Language Access Expansion Act, but continued No agreements have been created to finalize its promulgation.
The proposal initiated by Dominican assemblyman, Manny de Los Santosthe Washington Heights representative will guarantee that all non-English speaking communities throughout the state have equal access to public services and the same information than English speaking people.
The bill would require all state agencies and departments, including Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Education to provide translation and interpretation services, of three additional languages spoken in a regional areaand will require a biennial evaluation, to update the state’s list of covered languages.
“We didn’t ask for anything special. It’s a right, it’s a State built by immigrants. We want the governor to support this proposal this year,” asked De Los Santos.
Additional credits and vouchers
Likewise, the New York Immigration Coalition continues its campaign to approve the immigration law. Tax Credit for Working Families 2024which can guarantee a refundable and extended credit for poorer tax-paying New Yorkers.
In this case, it will merge with Empire State Child Credit (ESCC)HE Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the dependent exemption (DE)in a bigger one.
For her part, activist Lidia Santiago, spokeswoman for Immigrant Services, considers it “important” to advance this legislation that will allow thousands of working class families to fight inflation and unemployment. ever increasing housing costs.
“Those who pay taxes, We can access resources that we don’t currently have.”, he said.
Organizations and elected leaders will also fight to include in the state budget that must be agreed before April 1, an expansion of the Housing Access Voucher Program (HAVP) that provide funded rent subsidy vouchers of the State to persons who are homeless or facing eviction and at risk of becoming homeless, regardless of your immigration status.