You are reading

Threatening to Report a Person to ICE Will Soon be Illegal Under New State Law

(U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via Flickr)

Oct. 15, 2021 By Allie Griffin

A new state law will soon make it illegal to threaten to report someone to ICE as a form of blackmail.

The legislation, which Gov. Kathy Hochul signed into law last week, classifies such threats as extortion or coercion under New York law and therefore a crime.

“New York is built on the hard work and determination of generations of immigrants, and we need to support people who are trying to build better lives for themselves and their families,” Hochul said in a statement. “This legislation will protect New Yorkers from bad actors who use extortion or coercion due to their immigration status, and make our state safer against vile threats and intimidation.”

The legislation expands existing state law to include threats to report someone’s immigration status and threats of deportation in the legal definitions of extortion and coercion. Previously, such threats were only crimes in cases of labor trafficking and sex trafficking.

The new law gives the court power to prosecute individuals who use a person’s immigration status as blackmail, even when unrelated to labor or sex trafficking.

“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,” the bill’s sponsor Sen. Anna Kaplan said.

“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.”

Similar measures have been enacted in other states such as California, Colorado, Maryland and Virginia.

The legislation, introduced by Kaplan and Assembly Member Michaelle Solages, passed both the Senate and Assembly in June. It passed the Senate by a vote of 48 to 14 in June, and the Assembly by a vote of 106 to 41.

Hochul signed the bill on Oct. 9. The new law goes into effect 30 days after her signing.

“This legislation breaks new ground in New York’s ongoing efforts to protect undocumented immigrants, who can be some of our state’s most vulnerable residents,” Solages said in a statement. “Arbitrary threats of deportation are extremely harmful to New Yorkers trying to feed their families and give their children a better life, and we stand with them, today and always.”

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Op-Ed: This Year’s State Budget Must Prioritize Climate, Jobs, and Justice for New York

Op-Ed, Jan. 30, By Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

In a time of rampant economic inequality and environmental injustice, it is easy to feel defeated.  Here in Queens and across New York State, however, communities are organizing for a better future. New Yorkers from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences are proving that we can build community, organize, and create a future that reflects our shared values.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

Raga sworn in as first-ever Filipino American elected to the state Legislature

More than 300 community members attended the historic inauguration of Assemblyman Steven Raga as the first Filipino American elected to office in New York state.

Many who attended the swearing-in event at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park wore traditional and cultural attire to the event at the building that once housed the General Assembly of the newly formed United Nations from 1946 to 1950 until its current home in Manhattan became available for the world body.