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Newly Issued New York State Law Protects Immigrants from Status Threats

by | Oct 12, 2021 | Firm News |

By Brad Glassman

New York State Governor Hochul Signs Legislation Protecting Undocumented Immigrants from Threats to Report Their Immigration Status; Legislation (S.343-A/A.3412-A). The new law applies the Legal Standard of Extortion or Coercion to a Person Threatening to Report Another Person’s Immigration Status.

On October 11, 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation (S.343-A/A.3412-A) classifying certain threats to report a person’s immigration status as extortion or coercion under New York law. Threats to report a person’s immigration status can currently be treated as a crime in cases of labor trafficking and sex trafficking but were not previously treated as potential extortion or coercion offenses. This bill allows prosecutors to prosecute efforts to blackmail an individual by threatening to cause deportation proceedings even when unrelated to labor or sex trafficking. Similar measures have been enacted in California, Colorado, Maryland, and Virginia.

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. Such undocumented immigrants have faced arbitrary threats of deportation from others that are extremely harmful to New Yorkers trying to feed their families and give their children a better life. New York now adds further protections from such threats.

With signature, Governor Hochul stated “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,” Furthermore she said. “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.”

In support of the protective las, Senator Anna M. Kaplan said, “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. 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 threats”.