The de Blasio administration may not have many tools to fight back against federal immigration agents patrolling the city, but an information campaign has aimed to provide New York’s émigré communities with information about their rights.
What started in late January as resistance to the Trump administration’s Public Charge Rule, the city’s Office of Immigration Affairs is reminding people of their rights if they happen to encounter Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents.
“Sending Border Patrol units into our city isn’t about anyone’s safety. It’s about Trump pandering to his base in an election year,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
New Yorkers can find channels to resolve issues with ICE through city’s ActionNYC program, which can be dialed at 1-800-354-0365, and had expanded hours over Valentine’s Day weekend as the administration was braced for an increase in arrests.
Public Charge rule was introduced in 2018 and authorizes immigration enforcement to arrest and deport individuals with residency status who may be using public benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The NYC Office of Immigrant Affairs tweeted out not just additional information but view a fact sheet released by the de Blasio administration on Sunday.
It’s important to know your rights if approached by federal immigration enforcement! Call ActionNYC at 1-800-354-0365—the hotline is OPEN THIS WEEKEND (2/16 and 2/17, 9am–5pm) to connect you with free, safe legal help. Learn more: https://t.co/LHejVB04E1 pic.twitter.com/2zFnevP8WQ
— NYC Immigrant Affairs (@NYCImmigrants) February 16, 2020
On the national front, politicians are fighting against the Public Charge Rule with not only a court order that blocked it in Illinois, but with new laws.
Congresswoman Grace Meng introduced the No Public Charge Deportation Act on Feb. 14 with the aim of making the White House’s latest strategy for immigration enforcement illegal.
“From the Muslim travel ban to separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border to the public charge rule, this administration will do anything to block hard-working immigrants from achieving the American Dream. These policies are discriminatory, and the administration’s new public charge rule would force many families to choose between putting food on the table or keeping their legal status,” Meng said. “The public charge rule is a wealth test that singles out the neediest families. It is a betrayal of our shared American values.”
According to Meng, Public Charge has led to an increase in deportations in the three years it has been in effect.
The de Blasio administration says their hotline will put immigrants in contact with the community organizations who can provide legal assistance and warns residents to not speak to agents without a lawyer present.
And unless immigration officers have a warrant, they are not entitled to search or enter homes.
The fact sheets are available in multiple languages and can be found here.