Bill Protecting Immigrants From Blackmail Becomes Law From Harlem To The Hudson

October 9, 2021

Today, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation aimed at protecting vulnerable immigrant New Yorkers from those who would threaten to reveal an individual’s immigration status for the purpose of blackmail.

The legislation, S.343-A/A.3412-A, introduced and passed in the State Legislature by Assemblymember Michaelle Solages (D-Elmont) and State Senator Anna M. Kaplan, amends the laws on extortion and coercion to also include making threats to report a person’s immigration status or otherwise cause deportation proceedings to be brought against an individual.

Assemblymember Michaelle C. Solages, Chair of the NYS Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, & Asian Legislative Caucus stated, “New York State will continue to remain a safe haven for new American communities as they seek employment and advancement opportunities for themselves and their families. This legislation will protect these individuals from having their immigration status used as leverage against them as they pursue their American Dream. I want to extend my gratitude to Senator Anna Kaplan for her partnership in passing this measure and to Governor Hochul for continuing to prioritize the needs of our new American communities.”

Senator Anna M. Kaplan said “for an undocumented immigrant who fled danger in their home country, being reported to ICE can be a death sentence, yet sadly, far too many people are willing to take advantage of our more vulnerable neighbors by threatening to reveal their immigration status in order to exploit them in some way. By enacting this long-overdue measure, we’re updating the laws on extortion and coercion to ensure that immigrant New Yorkers aren’t left vulnerable to such vile threats. I’m extremely grateful for Assemblymember Solages and her partnership in addressing this issue, and for Governor Hochul for ensuring that our communities are safe and protected.”

Extortion and coercion involve compelling a person to turn over property, or to engage, or refrain from engaging, in other conduct by intimidation, including threatening to cause criminal charges to be instituted against them. This legislation amends the Penal Law definitions of “extortion” and “coercion” to also include making threats for such purposes as to cause deportation proceedings to be brought against an individual, thereby making it a criminal offense to coerce or extort an individual through threats of deportation.

Similar measures have been enacted in California, Colorado, Maryland, and Virginia.

The new law will take effect in 30 days.

Michaelle C. Solages

Michaelle C. Solages is a member of the New York State Assembly, representing the 22nd Assembly District. She serves as the Deputy Majority Leader in the Assembly and Chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus. She is a member of the following Standing Committees: Health, Libraries and Education Technology, Racing and Wagering and Social Services. She is also a member of the Legislative Women’s Caucus. Solages represents the communities of Elmont, North Valley Stream, Valley Stream, South Valley Stream, South Floral Park, Floral Park, the Village of Bellerose, Bellerose Terrace, North Woodmere, Stewart Manor, and sections of Franklin Square. For more information on Assemblywoman Solages, please visit https://nyassembly.gov/mem/Michaelle-C-Solages.

Senator Anna M. Kaplan

Anna M. Kaplan is a member of the New York State Senate representing the 7th Senate District, including the Northwest portion of Nassau County. She made history in 2018 when she was elected as the first former refugee and first Persian-American to hold office in the New York State Legislature. Now in her second term as Senator, she continues to Chair the Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development, and Small Business. For more information on Senator Kaplan, please visit kaplan.nysenate.gov


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