Bills Filed to Make New York Home to Even More Illegal Aliens
By Colton R. Overcash | January 31, 2019
The New York Legislature is determined to pass several laws this year that will further entrench the Empire State as a sanctuary state for illegal aliens. Over the past month, lawmakers in both chambers have introduced a veritable flood of 16 bills that would achieve a vast range of policy goals for the open-borders lobby. These are just some of the most prominent.
On January 9, Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Midtown Manhattan) filed Senate Bill (SB) 425 and Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages (D-Valley Stream/Elmont) filed Assembly Bill (AB) 2176 respectively. These identical bills would make it more difficult for federal immigration authorities to apprehend illegal aliens at courthouses. The bills would:
- Prevent federal immigration authorities from accessing courthouses without a warrant;
- Make illegal aliens immune to civil arrest by federal immigration authorities while going to, remaining at, or returning from a court proceeding;
- Allow illegal aliens to file suit against federal immigration authorities;
- Allow the attorney general to file suit against the federal government;
- Expose federal immigration authorities to false imprisonment and contempt of court charges.
It appears highly likely the legislature will pass these bills and send them to Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) for his signature, setting up the possibility of a dangerous confrontation between state and federal law enforcement.
On January 10, Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx) filed SB 1021, known as the “New York is Home Act.” What’s particularly disturbing about this bill is that it would confer “state citizenship” on illegal aliens despite the federal government having the sole authority to grant lawful status to immigrants.
SB 1021 would also:
- Allow illegal aliens to register and vote for state and local elections, hold elected office, or be appointed to a civic position;
- Allow illegal aliens to buy, rent, or lease property including subsidized housing;
- Make illegal aliens eligible for welfare and other public benefits such as Medicaid, TANF, SNAP, WIC, and Social Security benefits;
- Require banks and other financial institutions to open bank accounts, provide merchant services, and make credit or loans available to illegal aliens;
- Restrict businesses and other employers from refusing to hire illegal aliens or deny any accommodation or service;
- Allow illegal aliens to participate in any apprenticeship or occupational training program;
- Prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from honoring immigration detainers or from cooperating with federal immigration authorities in any capacity whatsoever;
- Deny federal immigration authorities access to city, county, and state facilities;
- Grant driver’s licenses, professional and occupational licenses, and business licenses to illegal aliens; and
- Provide illegal aliens with “state identification numbers” in lieu of Social Security numbers.
Surprisingly, previous versions of this bill have been denounced in the past even by pro-immigration advocates like Ted Ruthizer, who served as past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Ruthizer argued that extending [state citizenship] to all noncitizens living in New York would cheapen [U.S.] citizenship” and would “destroy any distinction between lawful and [illegal aliens].”
Some local officials are not supportive of giving illegal aliens public benefits either. On Feb. 14, the Oswego County Legislature will vote on a resolution to reject state legislation that would grant driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. The resolution reportedly says that such legislation would “reward illegal entry into the United States” and “create incentives for illegal aliens.”
On January 11, Senator Luis Sepulveda (D-Bronx) and Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa (D-Washington Heights/Inwood/Marble Hill) filed SB 1250 and AB 782 respectively, as the so-called “New York DREAM Act.” These identical bills would grant residency status to illegal aliens for tuition purposes. In other words, illegal aliens would be eligible to receive college tuition at a discounted rate while also becoming eligible for state-funded loans, grants, scholarships, reimbursements, and other forms of financial aid.
The bills would also create the New York Dream Fund, a scholarship program devoted entirely to recipients of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. American citizens and legal immigrants are not eligible for the program and need not apply.
But opponents say that the bills will divert funds away from legal residents and come at the expense of taxpayers. “How am I supposed to tell families in my senate district that adequate state aid to help afford college isn’t available to them, but is available for others who are in this country illegally?” asked Sen. James Edwards (R-Oneonta).
Both bills have already passed the legislature and now merely await Governor Cuomo’s signature. He announced on January 23 that he would sign them into law.
On January 15, Sen. Sepulveda also filed SB 1704. This bill would allow DACA recipients to receive any one of New York’s 1,220 professional and occupational licenses, including legal, medical, and teaching licenses.
And on the same day, Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez (D-East Harlem) filed AB 1403. This bill would allow illegal aliens to gain admission into the state bar and become practicing attorneys if they meet all other criteria. Illegal aliens have already been able to do so in New York under a 2015 state court case, but this bill would enshrine this into law.
The New York Legislature convened on January 9 and is scheduled to adjourn on June 19.