Feb. 27, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan
A local assembly member will be introducing legislation today that aims to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation when they are victims of a crime or domestic abuse and report it.
Assembly Member Aravella Simotas, who is introducing the bill, said: “The President’s recent executive orders and Homeland Security directives have caused so much fear and confusion, that the Federal government has handed abusers and other criminals a weapon to harass, intimidate and silence fearful victims.”
“If predatory criminals can turn in their victims to immigration authorities, our communities become less safe because undocumented victims and witnesses will simply not report crimes,” Simotas said.
If passed, the new bill would amend an existing law that protects crime victims from physical violence and threats to also prohibit the threat of deportation. The law would make it a class E Felony to report the immigration status of a crime victim or someone who is seeking an order of protection in Family Court.
Class E felonies often carry sentences of between 2 and 5 years in jail.
“Those brave enough to report abuse must not be silenced by the threat of deportation,” Simotas said.