There are only eight days left until the period of legislative sessions in Albany on June 10, but before that date it is expected that the State Assembly will approve a draft law that would protect the undocumented immigrants of New York against extortion or simply the threat of abusive employers, landlords or partners of call the immigration authorities to encourage the deportation of those without papers.
The bill, which could be voted on this Wednesday and is promoted by the assemblywoman Michaelle Solages (D-Nassau), would add threats due to immigration status to the list of blackmail typified in the penal code of the state of New York.
This means that expressions like I’m going to call La Migra so that I deport you! I know that you are not legal! Or simply highlighting the immigration status to force them to work for less money or another pressure scheme would make the protagonists of these actions.
“The threat of deportation is very serious for undocumented immigrants, which makes them particularly weak in the face of to extortion or coercion. Too often, unscrupulous people exploit that vulnerability. This legislation will protect these people and their families from having their immigration status used like a lever against him, ”Solages, who is president of the Black, Puerto Rican, Latino and Asian Caucus, published this Tuesday on his twitter account.
Certain protection measures for immigrant communities had already been approved in 2019 in the Big Apple. For example, a new guide from the New York City Commission on Human Rights increased fines to $ 250,000 for using the term ‘illegal alien’ or threaten report someone to ICE.
Now, the spirit of this initiative is close to having more regulatory weight across the state.
“Common sense correction”
According to current law, it is illegal to extort or coerce someone with threats such as exposing them to criminal charges, but “cornering” a person because of your immigration status to force you to do or not do something is not covered by the law.
Bill A-03412 also known as ‘Kaplan Law’ is sponsored by Senator Anna Kaplan, Nassau County Senate Representative and aims to amend anti-extortion laws, to specifically add threats to someone for the fact of “not having papers.”
“There are few more serious threats for someone who is instigated because they are going to be denounced for deportation proceedings against them. I think this is just closing the gap. It’s a common sense correction to the law, ”said the legislator who shared that she was inspired to move forward with this draft when she learned of the case of a immigrant mother, with two children, whose American partner threatened her with “Kick La Migra” in a domestic violence scheme.
“We have people who are being bulliedWe should have laws to protect them, ”Kaplan added.
The victims of intimidation of this type, generally suffer pressure in work spaces, by employers who discriminate against them with miserable salaries, landlords who have pressured tenants to put them in the hands of the immigration authorities if they do not pay rent or debt people involved in circles of violence domestic.
A third revision
The so-called Kaplan Law that everything indicates will pass the test in the next few days in the Senate, was subjected to a third review and it is strongly pushed by the Democratic caucus, so that it is passed before the end of the session of the State Assembly for the summer holidays.
The same President of the Assembly, Carl Heastie, showed his vision about the eventual approval of this norm, which will have a great impact in thousands of undocumented immigrants from New York.
“Our communities face significant challenges. Deportation proceedings have very real and serious consequences, and that is why we must ensure that people cannot exploit a person for personal benefit, “said the leader of the state legislature.
But not everyone in Albany applauds moving forward with this bill that has already been approved by the Senate Committee. Three Republican Senators, Phil Boyle of Long Island, Thomas O’Mara of the Big Flats and Andrew Lanza of Staten Island, they voted a resounding “no”In these instances.
“I believe that existing laws already provide strong protections, across the board, against threats, harassment and extortion. There is no need to create a special category for illegal immigrants”O’Mara argued in a statement shared by local media.
Rossana Rodriguez from the New York Laundry Center, who for years have put models of labor exploitation in the foreground in this industry, validates that one of the most recurrent complaints is how “bad employers” use “blackmail ”for immigration issues to “take advantage by taking advantage of the ignorance of many workers.”
“Although we do not know the scope of this new law, we do recognize that any additional protection will have an important effect in preventing the perverse practice of wage theft, in the midst of the most despicable of intimidations, what is it like to tell someone that you will call Immigration”the activist reasoned.
There is a judicial record
A New York judge in September 2019 ordered the landlord in Queens, Dianna Lysius, to pay $ 5,000 to the City and $ 12,000 in damages to her tenant Holly Ondaan.
Precisely, the New York Human Rights Commission (NYCCHR) took the complaint against Lysius to an administrative judge, alleging that he had sent him a text message and an email threatening the tenant by calling ICE, if he did not pay the rent.
The Commission’s lawyers said they believe it is “the first case in the country where a person was fined for threatening with calling the immigration authorities”. The owner accused of discrimination completely denied the action.
The first step was taken in the Big Apple
In the big apple since 1989 New York City Human Rights Law has prohibited discrimination based on immigration status or national origin, when seeking or already in employment, housing, school, or shelter. These measures were reinforced with a new guide revised in 2019, for those who call another “Illegal alien” or say expressions such as “return to your country”, among other actions, receive strong punitive sanctions. These prohibitions seek to prevent owners and employers from threatening immigrants with calling ‘Immigration’, but it also seeks to avoid discriminating against a person for their low command of English. The New York City Commission on Human Rights is the Big Apple agency in charge of enforcing the legal application guide, which will be the basis for investigating discrimination cases. If you believe you are the victim of discrimination based on your origin or immigration status under New York Human Rights Law, call Infolineat 718-722-3131 Commission or dial 311. Reports can also be submitted anonymously on the Commission’s website: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/cchr/about/report-discrimination.page