Assemblyman Weprin, State Senator Liu, and Amnesty International Introduce Immigration Customs Oversight Bill

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[New York Immigration News]
NY Assemblyman David Weprin and NY State Senator John C. Liu have introduced legislation to ensure proper treatment of detained immigrants...
Photo: Weprin Assembly

Assemblyman David Weprin, at the microphones, with immigration advocates seeking proper treatement of detained immigrants...

Assemblyman David I. Weprin (D-Queens) and Senator John C. Liu (D-Queens), with support from Amnesty International, have introduced the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Oversight Act, A 7853 / S 6107. The law's purpose is to ensure that immigrants detained in county jails in New York are held in accordance with legal detention standards and to limit the expansion of immigration detention facilities in New York unless approval can be gained from the legislature.

This action was spurred by reports of substandard conditions at immigration detention facilities nationwide as well as by visits by members of the legislature, including by State Assembly Correction Chair David Weprin, to county jails in the state that house immigration detainees. The new legislation prohibits municipalities from using funds or resources for the construction of any new detention facility; or the expansion of any existing detention facility without approval by the legislature; and establishes a committee on immigration detention oversight. The committee on immigration detention oversight will consist of six members appointed by the Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller, Secretary of State, President Pro-Tempore of the Senate, and the Speaker of the Assembly that will be tasked with ensuring detainees are safeguarded while in New York State.

“As residents of the nation’s gateway, New Yorkers know the value of immigration and understand that the vast majority of those emigrating to our country are doing so for a better life and to contribute to our great country." said Assemblyman David Weprin. “We cannot continue to blindly comply with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency if it continues to violate the human rights of those seeking refuge in the United States. This bill will send a clear message that New York will not be complicit with the atrocities of the Federal Government and I look forward to its passage in our State’s Legislature.”

"ICE continuously flouts the law, with little or no regard for basic human rights,” said Senator John C. Liu. “The state of New York can and must legislate with all its power to reduce efforts of this reckless agency to use public funds for construction or expansion of facilities, existing municipal buildings or other resources for their purposes of federal detention."

“Amnesty International recognizes threats to the rights of asylum-seekers, migrants, and refugees as a crisis of global magnitude and has made it a movement-wide priority to address these threats. We are vigorously opposed to the Trump administration’s relentless attacks on said groups. We commend the efforts of New York State Legislators David Weprin and John Liu, who are taking proactive measures to ensure that taxpayer funds are not allocated to the unconscionable practice of inessential immigrant detention.

If passed, A7853 Weprin/S6107 Liu will prohibit municipalities from using funds and/or resources for the construction of any new detention facility, or the expansion of any existing detention facility without approval by the legislature--in addition to establishing a committee on immigration detention oversight. This legislation is a vital step toward helping to meet our nation’s obligations under international law, and we fully support it.” — Sheetal Dhir, Senior Crisis Campaigner at Amnesty International USA on behalf of Amnesty International USA”

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