City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Albany leadership to pass legislation that would limit New York’s involvement in federal immigration enforcement during the rumored special session this year to stave off President-elect Donald Trump’s mass deportation plans.
Mark-Viverito, a native of Puerto Rico, has called on the state to adopt legislation similar to a bill recently introduced in California known as the California Values Act—which has bipartisan support—would establish a statewide policy that recognizes immigrants as “valuable and essential members of the California community” and would limit the state’s participation in federal immigration law enforcement. Cuomo said recently that discussions around having a special session, where lawmakers might vote on everything from a pay raise to ethics reforms to expansion of ride-hailing apps into upstate, are “on life support” but they are not necessarily off the table.
“We’re hearing rumors about a possible special session,” Mark-Viverito told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer this morning. “I think this would be a great addition to (the) agenda of the special session, to try to do legislation similar to what California has done.”
The governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The speaker said the bill, like California’s, would ensure that immigration enforcement does not take place in public schools, courthouses, hospitals or offices where individuals apply for public benefits or seek shelter. And Mark-Viverito called on the state to review confidentiality and information gathering laws, regulations and policies and change them as needed.
Assemblyman Francisco Moya has proposed legislation that would make public college campuses across the state and city sanctuaries to protect students, faculty and staff from Trump’s deportation plans. The president-elect has indicated he hopes to remove at least two million foreign nationals residing within U.S. borders, and possibly abrogate President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an executive order that has shielded undocumented youth from immigration enforcement action.
By Madina Toure for OBSERVER
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