New York, NY – One day before the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s planned raids on immigrants throughout the country, Speaker Corey Johnson, Immigration Committee Chair and Co-Chair of 2020 Census Task Force Carlos Menchaca, Co-Chair of the 2020 Census Task Force Council Member Carlina Rivera, Council Members, legal service providers, and advocates gathered at Battery Park East Coast Memorial in Manhattan to denounce these immoral actions, reaffirm this City’s commitment to the rights of all immigrants, and inform New Yorkers of their legal rights in the event they are stopped by ICE.
“These are dark times for our country, and I want to tell all those who are living in fear right now because of the actions of the Trump administration: your city and I have your back. Today, we gathered in front of the Statue of Liberty to inform our friends and neighbors of their legal rights if they are approached by ICE. I have a hope for a different future, and I intend for New York City to continue to set an example of how to stand up to hatred and divisive policies. This New York City Council will continue to speak out for and give voice to our immigrant New Yorkers,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.
“In the face of heartless raids that would tear families apart, we remain steadfast in our commitment to defend immigrant communities. It is critically important for all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, to know that you have rights and protections under the law if you are approached by federal immigration enforcement in your home, on the street, or in public. To learn more, visit nyc.gov/KnowYourRights. New York City—your City—has your back and offers free and safe immigration legal help through ActionNYC. You can call 311 and say ‘ActionNYC’ to connect with a trusted immigration legal service provider,” said Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Bitta Mostofi.
“This threat of raids is the clearest proof yet that the Trump Administration is cruel and desperate to do whatever it takes to tear families and communities apart. However the courts are dismantling their deportation machine bit by bit. Congress is finally placing a spotlight on the abuses occurring in ICE detentions. And the American people are coming together like never before to stand up against this cruelty. These raids aren’t a calculated move to deter; they are a desperate and lame attempt to justify the unjustifiable. If you hear a knock on the door, don’t open it. ICE has no legal right to enter your residence. If you see someone being arrested, film them and speak up. Notify immigration activists like NYIC and Make the Road, and contact legal services like the Legal Aid Society. And then continue to support your neighbors as before. Together, we can ensure New York City remains a sanctuary for everyone,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Chair of the Immigration Committee and Co-Chair of the 2020 Census Task Force.
“ICE’s nationwide raids are yet another effort by the Trump administration to terrorize our immigrant communities, and just another reason why we need to abolish ICE and replace it with a humane immigration system that treats every person with dignity and respect. But we will not sit by silently in New York City. We will continue to make sure all New Yorkers have access to immigration legal services and that they know what their rights are if ICE approaches them,” said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera.
“The ICE raid reports are only the latest example of the Federal Administration’s use of crude threats to cruelly stoke fear in our immigrant communities. As a first-generation immigrant and the representative of historic neighborhoods built by those who came to America seeking a better life, I know that the best way to combat these cowardly tactics is by empowering New Yorkers with the facts and educating them on their rights. Today, and always, I stand with the NYC Council and immigrant New Yorkers to stand up against Trump’s racist and oppressive attacks. We will continue to stay vigilant,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin.
The City Council is asking the media’s help in getting the word out to all New Yorkers that they have certain rights that can’t be violated if they have an interaction with ICE agents.
- If ICE shows up to your home, you do not have to open your door.
- If they have a warrant, tell them to slip it under the door so you can see it. If they do have a warrant, once they are inside you have the right to remain silent and can ask for an attorney.
- If ICE enters your home without a warrant, you can tell them, “I don’t consent to you being in my home. Please leave.
- If you do get arrested, you still have the right to remain silent and ask for an attorney.
- Remember what you say can and will be used against you. You cannot be forced to sign anything. Ask for a lawyer. If you have medical issues or have children that need to be cared for in your absence, let them know upon arrest.
- If you or a loved one want to speak to an attorney, free, safe immigration legal help is available. Call ActionNYC at 1-800-354-0365 between 9AM and 6PM Monday through Friday, or call 311 and say “ActionNYC”.
In addition, the Legal Aid Society’s Immigration Law Unit will expand their immigration helpline (1-844-955-3425), which provides essential legal assistance to immigrant New Yorkers and their families, to operate Saturday, July 13 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday, July 14 from 9:00 am to 1:00 am. The hotline will continue to be available during normal business hours during the week Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Non-citizen New Yorkers detained by ICE at the Bergen and Hudson County Jails in New Jersey, and Orange County Jail in New York, and/or their family members, may call the helpline for advice and possible legal representation on their cases. Immigrants detained at other immigration detention facilities and in upstate New York prisons and/or their family members can call the hotline for advice only. Collect calls from detention facilities and prisons are accepted.
Trump’s new family separation policy seeks to target undocumented families with final orders of removal, many of whom may have viable claims for relief but who have simply missed a court date. There are a myriad of reasons why an individual might miss their removal court hearing that are beyond their control:
-failure to receive proper notice of the removal hearing date;
-extraordinary circumstances like serious illness that prevented them from appearing;
-or even arriving just a few minutes late could result in a judge issuing an order of removal in their absence.
In addition to informing people of their rights, the Council, advocates and legal service providers also sought to reassure all New Yorkers of this city’s commitment to protecting all New Yorkers. Regardless of the actions from the federal government, that will not change.
The City Council is a proud funder of the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP), the first program in this country to provide public funding for lawyers to represent detained New Yorkers facing deportation proceedings. These vital services are provided by Bronx Defenders, the Legal Aid Society and Brooklyn Defender Services.
The City Council also funds the Immigrant Children Advocates Relief Effort Coalition (ICARE), which supports nonprofit organizations (Catholic Charities, Central American Legal Assistance, The Door, The Legal Aid Society, and the Sage Passage Project) that provide advice, legal representation and social services to children and families in deportation proceedings in New York City.
“We see this latest Trump attack for what it is: an attempt to resurrect his failed family separation policy from last summer and a re-election tactic to excite his base. New York’s immigrant communities need to know that The Legal Aid Society and other defender organizations are here to assist with concerns. We stand with City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and others, and with all immigrant New Yorkers in this dark time,” said Hasan Shafiqullah, Attorney-in-Charge of the Immigration Law Unit at The Legal Aid Society.
“As Trump and ICE continue to terrorize and destabilize immigrant communities with raids and threats of mass deportations, we stand with City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and other elected officials committed to fighting and protecting the rights of all Nee Yorkers. IDP has focused on monitoring ICE tactics and trends in New York for the past six years,and we will continue to share critical information about how to prepare and protect one’s rights to directly impacted individuals, advocates and attorneys,” said Natalia Renta, Staff Attorney at the Immigrant Defense Project.
“Threatening to target families and children just to score political points is cruel, inhumane and downright stupid—and if this threat actually does comes to New York, we will once again rise up and fight back. This cheap political ploy, played at the expense of vulnerable immigrant families, comes at a time when the Administration has already stretched the capacities of our immigration system to its limits, filling detention spaces beyond capacity and going significantly over budget. For now, we remind our immigrant neighbors to know their rights and contact an attorney as soon as possible after any interaction with immigration enforcement,” said Steve Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition.
“Catholic Charities is responding with increased services to support immigrant families, adults and children,” said Monsignor Sullivan. “Rash harsh talk and actions harm not only immigrants but also communities and neighborhoods throughout the country. I have seen pain on the faces of immigrants who fear the threats that raids pose to their families, their jobs, and their safety. We support and encourage legal immigration, as we also insist on the humane treatment of those who enter without proper documentation seeking protection and opportunity.”
“The Bronx is a borough of immigrants and these raids are a direct attack on our community. This weekend marks another dark turn in the Trump Administration’s continued assault on immigrants and we stand in solidarity with all of those targeted by this needless and cruel operation. We are undaunted by this challenge and will continue to work together with our partners on the frontlines to defend the rights of immigrants in the courts and in the streets,” said Justine Olderman, Executive Director of The Bronx Defenders. “No one should have to live in fear that a knock on the door from ICE could mean that parents won’t come home from work, kids won’t return from school, or a family could be ripped apart. That’s why the NYCLU is in court fighting this administration’s cruel deportation machine that has run roughshod over the principles of due process and human rights. It’s why we join the City Council in asking every New Yorker to know their rights. You don’t have to open your door to ICE, or answer questions without talking to a lawyer, or put down your camera if you’re filming immigration officials. Find out more at nyclu.org and aclu.org, and stand up for your community,” said Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.