Ross will fight to ensure New York is a real sanctuary for all immigrants and we stand up to the Trump Administration’s racist and destructive policies
Immigrants are under attack. President Trump breaks up families at the border, ICE targets undocumented immigrants of color, and New York Democrats, while talking a big game, fail to keep our immigrant neighbors safe. As a proud progressive and staunch advocate for immigrants of all backgrounds, Ross pledges to make New York a true sanctuary for all people and a place for resistance against the bigotry coming out of the White House.
Pass the New York Liberty Act
Ross will vote for the New York Liberty Act, a comprehensive piece of legislation to protect immigrants. Passed by the Assembly, the Liberty Act has been bottled up by the pro-Trump Senate Republican Conference. The legislation would make New York a true sanctuary state by prohibiting the detention of undocumented individuals on immigration detainers unless there was a warrant from a judge. It would also prevent state and local law enforcement agencies from stopping or questioning a person based on perceived immigration status. Every day, more immigrant families are broken up and we must pass the Liberty Act now.
Abolish ICE—And First Get it Out of the Courthouses
Long before mainstream politicians called for abolishing ICE, a racist deportation arm of the government created by former President George W. Bush, Ross was on the front lines fighting to end it. Since abolishing ICE is ultimately a federal issue and will not come to pass until Trump is no longer president, we must also focus on how we can blunt ICE’s impact in our own neighborhoods right now. Under Trump, ICE roams New York courthouses looking to arrest undocumented immigrants. Immigrants are now afraid to attend court in any capacity—as witnesses, defendant, plaintiffs, victims, or supportive family members. As a state senator, Ross will lead the fight to bar ICE from our courthouses altogether. The Chief Judge could adopt policies to keep ICE out or we can pass legislation, if she doesn’t act, to bar ICE. Every state senator must be advocating to keep ICE away from our courts.
Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants
Twelve states already allow undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses. New York is woefully behind in granting the undocumented the right to an I.D. and the right to safely, legally drive. If passed, the Driver License Access and Privacy Act would allow the undocumented to get driver’s licenses using a passport that was issued in another country as identification. In instances when individuals are required to give a Social Security number, the law would then allow for them to sign an affidavit saying that they had not received one, but it would not prevent them from getting a license. In addition to being the humane thing to do, new driver’s licenses would generate $57 million in annual state and county revenues, according to the New York Immigration Coalition. Ross will fight hard to pass this legislation as soon as possible.
Stop, in Many Cases, Sharing Fingerprints With Any Federal Agency
For undocumented immigrants in New York City, the road to deportation begins with an interaction with the NYPD. Once fingerprints get rolled, police share the data with the Division of Criminal Justice Services, a state agency. The data is then transmitted to the FBI for a criminal history check. If ICE has the person who was arrested tagged for any reason, deportation can be the next step. “Broken windows” policing ensures New York will never be a true sanctuary for undocumented immigrants. Ross would pursue legislative avenues to break this deportation chain and prevent the NYPD, unless in certain severe cases, from sharing fingerprint data elsewhere.
Healthcare Coverage for All
Ross is a staunch supporter of universal healthcare. Over time, covering everyone lowers costs and saves lives. We need a universal healthcare system in New York to cover residents without regard to immigration status. This is a moral obligation and will also save costs by keeping New Yorkers from seeking routine medical care in emergency rooms.
A State Work Authorization Program for Immigrants
We must create a state work authorization program for immigrants in between or without status that will allow them to come out of the shadows and contribute to the economy. Right now, hardworking immigrants are exploited in low-paying jobs. They struggle to access the kind of career paths that will take them out of poverty, take stress off them and their families, and help create healthier, more integrated communities. A statewide work authorization program for all would go a long way toward realizing the dream of a true sanctuary here in New York.
Pass the DREAM Act
Undocumented immigrants deserve tuition assistance too. Long stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate, the DREAM Act would allow college-bound undocumented immigrants to access the same in-state scholarships and financial aid available to U.S. citizens. Passing the DREAM Act is a moral obligation for any state senator, and Ross expects to cast the decisive vote in favor of the bill next year.
Invest $200 million for English Language Learners, $100 million in Immigrant Legal Services
A vast majority of legal services for immigrants are in New York City, leaving immigrants across the state vulnerable to a predatory and confusing criminal justice system. The Liberty Defense Project, a public-private legal defense fund set up to ensure immigrants have access to high quality legal counsel, was funded to the tune of only $10 million when it was created in 2017. This is not nearly enough. Ross would fight for a $100 million investment, which is only a tiny fraction of the state’s $168 billion budget, so immigrants across the state can have access to the robust legal services they deserve.
Ross also believes we must invest $200 million in state funding to help English Language learners. In addition, we must increase funding for adult literacy programs for immigrants. Ross will fight to increase state funding from $7 million to $20 million and add incremental increases every year over time.