City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito wants Albany leaders to pass statewide protections from deportation for immigrants if elected officials convene a proposed special session before Jan. 1, 2017, she told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer on Dec. 22, 2016.
The state legislature has until the end of the year to meet in a special session and give itself a pay raise for next year. Mark-Viverito said laws that provide a firewall between state agencies and federal immigration enforcers “would be a great addition to the agenda.”
The governor’s office has said it would not allow state law enforcement to conduct immigration enforcement activities. Mark-Viverito wants to see that and other confidentiality protections written into law, as the city and California have done.
In addition to a guaranteed barrier between police and federal authorities, Mark-Viverito said in her letter that the state should guarantee that immigration enforcement does not take place at schools, hospitals and other public institutions.
“It is particularly important to limit enforcement in courthouses as cooperation with immigration authorities in this setting impedes basic access to justice,” she wrote.
Sen. Jeff Klein, one of the six recipients of the letter and the leader of a breakaway group of Democrats that votes with the Republicans, issued a statement in response to the letter that touted funding for legal defense of immigrants and vowed that his group would be “a voice for their rights in New York.” But he did not address Mark-Viverito’s specific request.