New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an executive order prohibiting state agencies from checking into an individual’s immigration status unless it is required to determine eligibility for a benefit or service. Law enforcement officers will also be prohibited from inquiring about immigration status unless investigating illegal criminal activity.
This prohibition against inquiring into status includes, but is not limited to, when an individual approaches a law enforcement officer seeking assistance, is the victim of a crime, or is witness to a crime.
“As Washington squabbles over rolling back sensible immigration policy, we are taking action to help protect all New Yorkers from unwarranted targeting by government,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement on the 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.
The order will also keep state agencies from sharing the immigration status of individuals with federal agencies unless it is part of a law enforcement investigation.
The order calls immigrants an essential part of the economic fabric of the state of New York.
Governor Cuomo’s move comes in response to an increasing number of anti-immigrant policies being considered at the federal level. Several stories recently have shown the new difficulties immigrants face as policies shift in America. Many immigrants chose to ride out Hurricane Harvey despite life-threatening conditions rather than deal with an uncertain posture from authorities. Motel 6 has recently changed a policy after it was reported that employees were calling immigration enforcement on guests they suspected of being undocumented.
The full text of the executive order is available here.