Threatening to Report Certain Undocumented People Now a Crime in NY
New York State has made it a crime to threaten to report certain undocumented immigrants to the authorities. The state's first woman Governor, Kathy Hochul, signed the bill (S.343-A/A.3412-A) into law. It gives protections to undocumented people in cases of labor trafficking and sex trafficking. Threatening to tell authorities about their immigration status can now be considered potential extortion or coercion offenses. Prosecutors do have the discretion to use the legal protection in cases that don't involve sex or labor trafficking also.
Gov. Hochul spoke about the importance of the new legislation to protect immigrants in New York,
"New York is built on the hard work and determination of generations of immigrants, and we need to support people who are trying to build better lives for themselves and their families. This legislation will protect New Yorkers from bad actors who use extortion or coercion due to their immigration status, and make our state safer against vile threats and intimidation."
Similar legislation has been passed in states like California and Colorado. New York's law is based on a model provided by The Public Leadership Institute titled "Prevent Extortion of Immigrants Act."
New York Senator Anna M. Kaplan spoke about how threatening to report an undocumented immigrant's status have have life or death consequences,
"For an undocumented immigrant who fled danger in their home country, being reported to ICE can be a death sentence, yet sadly, far too many people are willing to take advantage of our more vulnerable neighbors by threatening to reveal their immigration status in order to exploit them in some way. By enacting this long-overdue measure, we're updating the laws on extortion and coercion to ensure that immigrant New Yorkers aren't left vulnerable to such vile threats. I'm extremely grateful for Assemblymember Solages and her partnership in addressing this issue, and for Governor Hochul for ensuring that our communities are safe and protected."