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Immigration law executive order in New York protects immigrants

An executive order from the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, recently banned the state's agencies from requesting information about someone's immigration status in the majority of cases. Likewise, the state's police cannot ask about or disclose such information. This move was made in an effort to curb the federal government's attempts to clamp down on the immigration of those who lack the proper paperwork according to immigration law.

Cuomo said that politicians are continuing to fight about creating immigration policy that makes sense. In the meantime, he wanted to safeguard everyone in New York from being a federal government target. Based on the executive order, state police and agencies cannot ask about someone's immigration status unless it is required to determine whether he or she is eligible for a service or benefit.

The executive order also states that state agencies and police can ask about immigration status only if someone is seeking the police's help or is a crime witness or victim. As of now, many cities in the upper part of the state, such as Syracuse, Rochester and Kingston, described themselves as sanctuary cities. This means that in the majority of cases, they will avoid using the cities' resources to go against federal policies.

Those who lack the proper paperwork in New York may feel relieved for now to learn about the executive order. However, figuring out how to attain U.S. citizenship or another legally recognized status long term can be emotionally, mentally and legally challenging. An immigration law attorney can provide the necessary direction for ensuring that an immigrant's best interests are protected in such a situation.

Source:, "Immigration: New York bans questions on status", Joseph Spector, Sept. 15, 2017

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