March 28, 2022
NEW YORK– Thirty immigrant rights community-based and legal advocacy organizations called on New York Governor Kathy Hochul and Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin not to proceed with their plan to rollback bail reform and warned that expanding criminalization and incarceration will increase harm to Black, Latinx and immigrant New Yorkers.
The letter highlights the positive impacts that the 2019 bail reforms have had for immigrant New Yorkers, “helping to keep families together as they navigate the criminal legal system as well as the risks of immigration enforcement.” The letter details how the plan to rollback these critical reforms would undermine key protections for immigrants. For example, the rollbacks would bring back pretrial jailing where immigrants would be coerced to “plead guilty in overcharged cases that [carry] the risk of detention and deportation, instead of waiting for a fair deal that would not trigger immigration consequences.” Furthermore, the letter emphasizes the importance of Raise the Age in protecting immigrant youth from detention, deportation and the risk of permanent separation from caretakers.
The groups join a chorus of voices across New York State who strongly oppose the governor’s proposal. “Instead of putting more New Yorkers behind bars, New York must invest in real solutions for community safety, such as employment programs, neighborhood investments, healthcare access, and housing access that have been shown to reduce violence and crime,” the groups say in their letter. “We call on you to do right by all New Yorkers—including immigrant New Yorkers—and not resort to the failed policies of mass incarceration.”
View the letter and see the list of 30 organizational signatories from across New York state here.