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WESPAC is a member of the Hudson Valley Community Coalition which is working hard to change the public discourse around immigration: http://hvccoalition.org
For all details please visit: https://www.westchestersocialforum.org/
New York’s top prosecutors, public defenders and advocates are rightly speaking out against a pernicious Trump administration policy that encourages Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to roam the halls of state courthouses with the goal of targeting and arresting immigrants attending to official court business.
As documented by the Immigrant Defense Project, there was a 1,100% increase in incidence of ICE courthouse arrests in New York in 2017 from the previous year.
Immigrants are now afraid to attend court in any capacity — as defendants, plaintiffs, witnesses, victims or supportive family members. This impedes justice.
New York is not helpless in the face of President Trump’s harsh immigration enforcement machine. We believe that courthouse arrests are not only bad policy — they are also unconstitutional. Therefore, we urge the state’s top judicial official, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, and the Office of Court Administration she leads to immediately adopt rules to restrict these civil arrests in New York’s courthouses.
“Everyone, regardless of their immigration status or the status of their loved ones, should have access to equal justice under the law,” state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in speaking out against courthouse arrests.
It’s not a platitude. The principle that equal justice requires access to court dates back to 18th century common law, which barred civil arrests for people attending court. In more recent iterations, the Supreme Court has recognized that the Constitution requires that “access to the courts is adequate, effective and meaningful.”
ICE’s policy of intimidation in effect closes the courthouse doors to immigrants. This not only tramples their rights — the Constitution isn’t only for citizens — but also infringes on the rights of people who may require immigrant witnesses in court to effectively present their cases.
New York City is home to 3.3 million immigrants, who, even if they have legal status, may fear the presence of ICE officers.
Our courts cannot function when 40% of our population believes that if they show up, they may suddenly be dragged off in handcuffs to face unrelated deportation proceedings.
New York must no longer let its justice system be used as a hunting ground. State courts throughout the nation, including in New York, routinely implement rules to ensure order and access to justice for litigants and witnesses. New York should implement rules like those proposed by the Immigrant Defense Project and others, which would flatly prohibit civil arrests in the courthouse unless the arresting officer has a judicial warrant or order, and prevent court resources from being used to assist ICE.
Rules like these are important, timely uses of courts’ longstanding authority to regulate judicial spaces. While the public nature of the courthouses is often held as sacrosanct, this has never meant that those who visit them are free from regulation. On the contrary, the New York State Court of Appeals has repeatedly recognized “the inherent power of the court to preserve order and decorum in the courtroom, to protect the rights of parties and witnesses, and generally to further the administration of justice.”
New York courts have accordingly upheld rules restricting the courthouse presence of bail bondsmen, the press and even the general public when necessary to prevent interference with proceedings and prejudice to litigants. The disruption and chilling effect of courthouse arrests surely meets the same standard.
The fact that a rule restricting civil arrests in courthouses would apply to a law enforcement agency, and a federal one at that, does nothing to diminish New York courts’ authority in this respect. In fact, many courts have adopted rules, such as restrictions on carrying firearms, that regulate law enforcement officers’ conduct within courthouses.
As long as ICE threatens the sanctity of our state courthouses, New York has an obligation to push back — to ensure meaningful access to justice for all those who may have concerns about their immigration status, but rely on our courts to vindicate their rights to protection, child custody, housing and a fair defense in criminal proceedings.
Ultimately, New York not only has the authority to prevent this threat to the administration of justice in its courts, it has a duty to do so for the many New Yorkers who depend on them.
Morawetz is a professor of clinical law at NYU School of Law. Nash is a visiting assistant clinical professor of law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
Please share widely:
Rally with us on Monday, March 20th at 12 noon in downtown White Plains to support public education in our next installment of Justice Mondays!
Our vital institution, a cornerstone of our democracy, is under attack at every level. The Trump/DeVos agenda at the federal level, along with the push in Albany to send our tax dollars to charter, private and religious schools together pose an existential threat to public education. Silence equals acceptance. Join us to fight back!
Please share the Facebook event widely: https://www.facebook.com/events/254399864963585/
Groups that are part of the Westchester Social Justice Community:
Call to Action Hudson Valley: Syrian Refugee Crisis: https://www.facebook.com/calltoactionhv/
Community Voices Heard: www.cvhaction.org
Concerned Families of Westchester: https://www.facebook.com/ConcernedFamiliesofWestchester/
Food & Water Watch: https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/state/new-york
Hudson Valley Community Coalition: http://hvccoalition.org/
Lower Hudson Valley Progressive Action Network: https://www.facebook.com/LHVPAN/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE
Mount Vernon United Tenants: http://mvut.org/
Indivisible Rivertowns: https://www.facebook.com/groups/indivisiblewestchesterrivertowns/
Indivisible Westchester: http://www.indivisiblewestchester.org/
Prevent Gun Violence—Westchester: http://www.preventgunviolence.org/
Sustainable Port Chester Alliance: https://www.facebook.com/portchesteralliance/
Up and Up Action Initiative: https://www.facebook.com/UUAction/?fref=ts
Walkabout Clearwater: https://walkaboutclearwater.org/music/home.php
WESPAC Foundation: https://wespac.org/
Westchester for Change: https://www.facebook.com/groups/westchester4change/
The New York State Farmworker Fair Labor Act (S.1743/A.1792) will, when enacted, allow for basic labor protections many of us take for granted: overtime pay, disability insurance and the right to collective bargaining – rights which the New Deal guaranteed a most workers decades ago, excluding farmworkers. The individuals who cultivate and pick the items we consume daily deserve the same rights as the rest of us. Our speakers will reveal how food justice models can turn our meals into an act of activism and a way to preserve the dignity of our workers. Join us to learn more about how policy, or the absence of one, intersects with our daily living! Action items will be presented on how local efforts can make these reforms a reality.
Speakers: Gerardo Gutierrez, NYC Justice for Farmworkers Campaign
Sarah Ahmed, Student Farmworker Alliance
Douglass DeCandia, Local Farmer for the Westchester Food Bank
Guisela Marroquín, Community Organizer, Lower Hudson Valley NYCLU
When: Sunday, October 26
2:00 – 4:00PM
Where: Fordham University – Westchester Campus
400 Westchester Avenue
West Harrison, NY 10604
RSVP: Space is limited so please contact us at –
New York Civil Liberties Union and WESPAC Foundation
Let's join them in action for the NY Dream Act from home.Pick up that phone and make the call to Silver and let him know you stand with undocumented youth and support the NY Dream Act.
The NY Dream Act is currently being held in the Governmental Operations Committee in the Assembly. Please call the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and ask him to put up the NY Dream Act (A6829/S4179) for a vote in the Assembly, then call the Chair of the Governmental Operations committee and ask him to move the NY DREAM Act through the committee, see the numbers below.
Sample script: “I'm calling to urge that (legislators name) support the NY DREAM Act and allow undocumented students to be given an equal opportunity to the tuition assistance program, please move the NY DREAM Act to the floor for a vote ”
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver
NYC office: 212-312-1420 / Albany: 518-455-3791
Chair, Governmental Operations Committee
Albany: 518-455-4804 / District office: 631-751-3094
SAVE the DATE & Attend the Urgent Count Down NY Dream Act Rally
WHEN: Wednesday, June 6th from 2-6pm
WHERE: 250 Broadway, New York, NY 10007. Map
For more questions contact us at [email protected]
LATINO YOUTH DEFINES DREAM ACT AS A DE FACTO MILITARY DRAFT
We write this statement to raise our voices as Latino youth working and living in the Bronx, New York in opposition to the DREAM ACT as it stands. We demand that we return to our original DREAM ACT that had a community service option instead of a military one. The military has been losing their numbers due to the multiple wars the US has begun. The DREAM ACT would hand us over on a platter to fight these unjust wars. The DREAM ACT has been warped over the years to draft Latino youth into the military, as they need more and more soldiers to fight their wars.
We have been living under harsh conditions. Our communities have been historically underprivileged, with militarized streets, schools that seem more like jails than educational institutions, and poverty that pushes people to desperation and sadness. We have grown up with the trauma of having our family members and friends detained, jailed, and deported. But we are strong and determined, so we keep onwards. We have stood next to our parents as they worked as street vendors, as they were ticketed, arrested, and sometimes assaulted by police for trying to make a living. We, as youth, have also been ticketed and arrested alongside our parents. We have come to understand what it is to be humiliated and then stand and fight for what is right, what is principled, what is just. Our parents’ unrelenting strength to fight for us and their rights have taught us to always stand up for what is right and never sell out.
We have asked ourselves “Is the DREAM ACT an advantage or disadvantage for us as immigrant youth?” Many of us were excited about the possibility of getting documents and finally being able to be recognized as human beings, be able to get a job, an education, and help our families. Along with our teachers and mentors we delved into community organizing and becoming politically conscious. We began learning about our history and our people’s resistance. We then expanded to other cultures and histories and began to appreciate them. We marched side by side with youth from all over the world including South Asia and the Middle East. We saw that within our hearts there was no difference, and enjoyed each other’s company and diversity. Our spirits were momentarily paralyzed when we began learning about the effects of war and how their families and communities had been destroyed. We began to ask ourselves “How can we stop these wars, how can we help?” Our political education allowed us to see through the military propaganda and the army recruiters in our blocks and schools. Speaking to our peers we saw how the military was using them to fight wars that didn’t concern us and killed our friends. This forced us to look at the DREAM ACT a lot closer.
THE DREAM ACT REVEALED
In order to qualify for the DREAM ACT you have to have migrated before the age of 16 and have proof of residence in the United States for 5 consecutive years since the date of arrival. Also, you have to have graduated from high school or have a GED. This would eliminate many of our older youth, those that did not finish high school, and recent arrivals. You must then complete the following:
1. Serve two years in the military, or;
2. Finish two years of bachelor’s program or higher degree in the US.
What happened to the community service option that the original DREAM ACT contained? Why did our supposed advocates allow for the removal of the community service option? Was it because it became in this form the DREAM ACT became winnable? At what expense?
Two Years of College
The first option on the DREAM ACT is to go to school for at least 2 years; this is great for people who can afford the high tuition rates. But what about those of us who do not have enough money for the tuition, the books, and personal expenses? Also let’s not forget about our families who have more than one undocumented child who needs to go to school to get their papers.
DREAM ACT proponents say that most people will not go to the military, that they can afford school if we work. Unfortunately those folks are distanced from our realities and don’t understand our economic hardships. We broke down the cost of each year in school without the aid of Pell Grants or Financial Aid for attending 2 years of a 4 years University; our calculations were the following for a university in Ohio, which does not allow in-state tuition for undocumented students:
Cleveland State University: Out of State
12 Credit Hours – $7,884.00 X 2 = 1 Year = $15,768.00 X 2 years = $31,536.00
Expenses for Students Living at Home with their Parents = $6,568.00 X 2 years = 13,136.00
GRAND TOTAL = $44,672.00
Only 10 states allow for undocumented students to pay for in-state tuition. The majority of undocumented youth would have to pay amounts as stated in the example above. We are lucky to be in New York as it is one of the states that allow undocumented youth to apply for in-state tuition. At the same time we understand that by accepting the terms under the DREAM ACT most youth would not have the same opportunity we do here in New York. Undocumented youth in states like North Carolina, Virginia, Illinois, Ohio, New Mexico would be forced to take the military option in large numbers as they would not be able to pay the high prices of education. For this reason we do not support the DREAM ACT.
2 Years of Military Requirement
We, the VAMOS UNIDOS YOUTH, do not support the DREAM ACT due to the military component. The fact that it has been introduced as a defense appropriation bill adds insult to injury. The DREAM ACT is a de facto military draft, forcing undocumented youth to fight in unjust wars in exchange for the recognition as human beings, a Green Card. This is a trick by the politicians, Democratic Party, and DC immigration advocates. The same way many supposed “advocates” for immigrant rights sold out the community with Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR), they now sell us out with the DREAM ACT. We stand against any militarization- whether it is of the border, our communities, or our status. We will not kill innocent people in exchange for Green Cards. Our parents have firmly stated in their fight for immigration reform, “We will not accept papers tainted with the blood of our people still crossing the border and dying,” in regards to CIR and it’s militarization of the border component. We say the same “We will not be used for the wars of the corporations and the rich in any part of the world in exchange of blood-stained immigration papers.”
We make a call out to all community organizations and allies to stand firmly on what is principled, against the DREAM ACT if it contains the military provision. Our fight will not be won in one or two years. We are prepared to organize our communities and struggle for many years. We cannot negotiate out our lives, our dignity, and the lives of others. We must rethink our strategies and take control away from the DC immigration advocates which have shown us they don’t have our interest. They have watered down good legislation at a very high cost to the community. Our communities need to decide and take control. We stand with our brothers and sisters affected by wars; we feel their pain and desperation. We will not be used to decimate other countries and their people. Thus, we stand together against the DREAM ACT with the militarization component and fight for what is principled, even if it takes us a very long time.
VAMOS UNIDOS YOUTH
On this day immigrants and their allies will march across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge in solidarity with Arizona in the spirit of bridging borders and uniting cultures to demand:
Policies that affirm Family Unity, Due Process and Fairness;
That local law enforcement in Arizona and across the country focus on protecting our communities, not destroying them; and
That President Obama and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) immediately halt the Criminal Alien Program, Secure Communities, 287(g), and all partnerships between ICE and local law enforcement
SPONSORED BY: Churches United to Save and Heal (CUSH), Families for Freedom (FFF), American Friends Service Committee?NJ (AFSC), New York New Sanctuary Coalition (NYNSC), Immigrant Defense Project (IDP), Wind of the Spirit, The Black Institute, & Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights (NMCIR)
Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 9:30am
Gather at Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn at 9:30am to March (take A/C trains to High Street, OR 2/3/4/5/R trains to Borough Hall) and assemble at 11:30am Foley Square, Manhattan for Rally (4/5 to Brooklyn Bridge OR N/R/W to City hall)
WHO IS MARCHING:
YOU, all people of conscience who want to raise their voice for immigrant justice
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO JOIN THE MARCH ON JULY 29th CONTACT:
Families for Freedom (646?290?5551), Churches United to Save and Heal (718?469?8900), New York New Sanctuary Coalition (646?395?2925)
DOWN WITH SB1070!
Stop Deportation NOW!