New York's New Senate Supermajority May Spell Immigration Catastrophe
FAIR Take | December 2020
Control of only one state legislature changed in the November election: New Hampshire flipped backed to Republican. However, many state legislatures that were controlled by one party gained seats and this has likely consequences for immigration policy over the next two-year election cycle. This is probably most true in New York where the Democrats gained a veto-proof two-thirds supermajority in the State Senate. Previously, Democrats had only outnumbered Republicans 40-23 in the Senate. As a result of the election, Democrats will have at least 42 seats and possibly more. This is more than enough to override a gubernatorial veto even without Republican support.
Historically, New York’s legislature has been divided for decades with Democrats controlling the Assembly and Republicans controlling the Senate. Both parties have controlled the governorship over the years. However, New York has steadily become more Democrat since Republican George Pataki left the governorship culminating with Republicans losing the Senate in a “blue wave” in 2018.
Even though the Democrats had a majority in the Senate from 2018-2020, they did not have a supermajority which gave Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) most of the real power in Albany. While Cuomo is considered a liberal and has been a vocal opponent of President Trump’s policies to enforce our nation’s immigration laws, he does habitually tack to the center to take a more moderate position on certain issues. This may have precluded Democrats from passing their more extreme open-borders policies.
For example, Governor Cuomo publicly vacillated on whether he would support the New York Green Light Bill giving driver’s licenses to illegal aliens for more than a year. He occasionally even appeared to consider a veto. Likewise, his April 2020 COVID-19 “emergency” budget initially left out state funds for deportation defense, which it has included since 2017.
A 2018 state court decision made New York a sanctuary state. However, with a supermajority unafraid of a gubernatorial veto, the legislature could pass even more extreme statewide sanctuary legislation –similar to laws adopted in Washington State or Illinois, which essentially forbid any form of cooperation, assistance or information-sharing.
Numerous other proposals that were introduced but unable to advance in the past few years because of a veto threat may now pass, including an ICE lockout bill, a COVID-19 “stimulus” bill which provides taxpayer money to illegal aliens and access to occupational and professional licenses. A wayward super-majority may even consider allowing illegal aliens to serve on state boards (like in California) or even grant voting rights to “non-citizens.”
Polling at the time of the Green Light bill’s passage showed most New Yorkers opposed it. If they want to stop the radical open-borders agenda that will likely happen as a result of the November election, they will need to prepare now.