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Common Council to consider immigrants resolutions

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The Hudson Common Council is expected to vote on two resolutions concerning immigrants rights at its next meeting on May 21.
May 14, 2019 10:00 pm

HUDSON — Two resolutions in support of immigrants are expected to be voted on at the Hudson City Council meeting.

One resolution calls on the state legislature to pass, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign, the Protect Our Courts Act. The proposed legislation, which has support in the Senate and Assembly, would exempt individuals from civil arrest while “going to, remaining at, or returning from the place of a court proceeding.”

When U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, arrests a defendant during a court proceeding, ICE is under no obligation to produce them for such a court appearance, according to the resolution.

“Arrests outside courts creates a fear of deportation and act as a deterrent for victims of crime, witnesses to crime and defendants to engage with the criminal court system,” according to the resolution.

“One-third of domestic violence victims are not showing up to court to report they have been abused because of fear of deportation or being taken by ICE,” 1st Ward Alderman Kamal Johnson said. “We don’t want people not coming to court because of fear of ICE.”

In April, the state Office of Court Administration issued a directive prohibiting ICE from conducting arrests in courts without a judicial order authorizing the arrest.

“In a way I might add the city has already decided to act based on our last meeting with the chief [L. Edward Moore],” Common Council President Thomas DePietro said. “It is already the policy here.”

The resolution was approved by two-thirds of the council and will not have to go before the Police Committee.

On March 5, Hudson made national headlines when ICE attempted to detain two individuals after their Hudson City Court appearance. The vehicle the two men were riding in was pulled over several blocks from the courthouse. They were not detained because the driver, an American citizen, blocked ICE agents from getting into the vehicle.

Driver’s Licenses

The Hudson Common Council also will vote at its next formal meeting on a resolution supporting the issuance of driver’s licenses to residents regardless of their immigration status at the state level.

The resolution was introduced by Common Council Majority Leader Tiffany Garriga at the informal council meeting Monday.

The resolution calls for amending the requirements for a “standard license” in the state, which would eliminate the requirement of a social security number.

Bills in support of giving a standard license to immigrants regardless of their status are being considered in the state Assembly and Senate.

If passed, the proposed legislation will allow those who obtain a standard license, one of three licenses which also includes Enhanced ID and Real ID. The standard license would not require an office visit to prove one’s identity, state residency and lawful presence in the U.S. The standard license would have the disclaimer, “Not for federal purposes,” written in the right-hand corner of the license.

A similar resolution, which Garriga also voted on, was passed by the Common Council in 2016. The resolution was reintroduced in response to the Real ID Act, Garriga said.

The Real ID Act, passed in 2005, establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses, permits and ID cards across the country. The law is scheduled to be fully implemented by October 2020.

“This is an update to the resolution, for example, as we discussed in [the Housing and Transportation] committee, within the Hudson City School District, you need an ID to enter the school, to register your child, if your child is ill, to pick up your child,” Garriga said. “You need some type of ID.”

Twelve states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico already have access to licenses for undocumented immigrants. Three are already Real ID compliant: Vermont, Connecticut and the District of Columbia.

“The law would be restoring what was already in place years ago, and we’d be the 13th state, in terms of policy it is nothing new,” 4th Alderman Rich Volo said.

In March 2017, Hudson passed a resolution which established Hudson as a “welcoming and inclusive city” for everyone, regardless of immigration status.

The resolution will be voted on at the Common Council’s informal meeting May 21, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. at City Hall, 520 Warren St.

“Immigrants in our community, in fact over 750,000 of them, do not have driver’s licenses,” Columbia County Sanctuary Movement Executive Director Bryan MacCormack said at the meeting. “Of course one can imagine the necessity of a driver’s license in a rural county like this. There is very little public transportation, so in order to get to school, medical appointments, get to the hospital, to go to the grocery store, etc., people drive without licenses out of necessity.”

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to apurcell@thedailymail.net, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.

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