NY DIGNITY NOT DETENTION ACT
(S7373 Salazar /A7099A Reyes)
On any given night, hundreds of New Yorkers are detained by ICE in jails and prisons across the state. They are subjected to inhumane conditions and separated from their families and communities. Although New York became a leader in banning private prisons in the criminal legal system in 2007, it is falling behind when it comes to protecting immigrant New Yorkers. Several counties in New York profit from immigration detention and ICE is actively seeking to expand detention in New York.
The New York Dignity Not Detention Act (S7373 Salazar /A7099A Reyes) gets New York out of the business of immigration detention. When immigrants and communities can live in dignity and freedom, we’ll create a more welcoming state for all who call New York home.
WHAT DOES THE BILL DO?
- Prohibits NY governmental entities from entering into immigration detention contracts and from receiving any payments related to immigration detention.
- Prohibits NY governmental entities from renewing any existing immigration detention contracts.
- Requires any NY governmental entities with existing immigration detention contracts to exercise the termination provision in the contract.
- Prohibits any person, business, or private entity from owning or operating immigration detention facilities.
HOW DOES THIS BILL HELP NEW YORKERS?
Immigration detention dehumanizes the individuals detained and harms and traumatizes their loved ones and communities.
Forced separations from parents, even when brief, can have severely detrimental effects on children, including triggering anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and psychological distress. This reinforces the urgent need to keep New Yorkers out of detention and with their families.
- The Biden Administration has continued aggressive immigration enforcement and significantly increased detention nationwide.
- Conditions in detention cause neglect, abuse, and even torture for people inside detention. Deplorable conditions have been reported in New York detention facilities, including unsanitary living conditions, inedible food causing illness, and extremely cold temperatures.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the dangers of detention. Correctional officers are often observed not wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing is impossible, and medical care is often delayed or inadequate. The virus continues to surge in immigration detention––more than 40% of all cases in ICE detention nationwide since the pandemic began have been reported since April 2021.
- Similar legislation was successfully passed and signed into law in New Jersey (S3361, A5207), California (SB 29, AB 103), Washington (SB 5497, HB1090), and Illinois (SB0667). A similar bill was also passed in Maryland (SB 478), vetoed by Governor Hogan, but passed with a veto-proof majority.
- New York does not believe that entities should profit from imprisonment. In 2007, New York passed legislation that prohibited the operation of private prisons in the state and committed itself to end incarceration for profit. The New York Dignity Not Detention bill closes a loophole that has allowed immigrant New Yorkers to be prisoners for profit in New York for many years. This legislation will put New York back as a leading state in immigrant's rights.
- Immigration detention disproportionately affects Black and Brown New Yorkers. By ending its contracts with ICE, New York can stand up for Black and Brown communities in New York.