Cuomo bans immigration questioning by state police
ALBANY, N.Y. » Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order Friday that bars state agencies and law-enforcement officers from asking about a person’s immigration status.
The new rule also prohibits state officials from disclosing a person’s immigration status to federal authorities, except in certain situations such as a law-enforcement investigation.
“As Washington squabbles over rolling back sensible immigration policy, we are taking action to help protect all New Yorkers from unwarranted targeting by government,” Cuomo, a Democrat, said in a statement accompanying his order. “New York became the Empire State due to the contributions of immigrants from every corner of the globe and we will not let the politics of fear and intimidation divide us.”
Practically speaking, the order
means New York State Police troopers or officers with other state law-enforcement agencies will not be allowed to question a crime victim or a witness about their citizenship or residency.
It also means that the state’s public universities and colleges would be barred from sharing residency information about students with federal immigration officials or the administration of President Donald Trump.
The order does not apply to local police or municipal governments, a point that Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard pointed out in a directive to his deputies.
“As sheriff, part of my job is enforcing our constitution and the law, regardless
of what cheap political points Albany politicians are looking to score,” Howard, a Republican, said in a statement.
Groups that work on behalf of immigrants praised the executive order. Javier Valdes, co-executive director for the New York Citybased progressive advocacy group Make the Road New York, called it a “major victory” and one of the strongest policies of its kind in any state.
“It is absolutely critical that New York State employees not be roped into collaborating with Trump’s rogue immigration enforcement agencies,” Valdes said.
Organizations that favor stronger rules on immigration, however, were displeased — though not shocked.
“It’s not a surprise,” said Joanna Marzullo, president of New Yorkers for Immigration Control and Enforcement.
“A lot of people are pandering to what they see as their base.”
The Kingston Common Council in January adopted a resolution stating people won’t be asked for immigration-related paperwork during first encounters with city police. And in April, the New Paltz Town Board adopted a law that bars local police from performing federal immigration enforcement functions.
The Ulster County Legislature, however, rejected a proposal in June that stated county employees could not stop, question, interrogate or arrest individuals “solely for the purpose of enforcing immigration law.” The policy also would have barred county employees from performing the functions of federal immigration officers and would have denied federal agents access to inmates in county custody.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo