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New Law Criminalizes Deportation Threats In New York

NY Deportation Lawyer

Help from a NY Deportation Lawyer

Threats to report undocumented immigrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement are serious and could potentially threaten people’s welfare and lives when they have come to New York from countries in which they were in danger. Unfortunately, these types of threats are fairly common and are used by unscrupulous landlords, businesses, and others to blackmail or extort vulnerable immigrants. Thankfully, legislation was recently signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul criminalizing these types of threats across the state. People who are threatened in this way might want to get help from an experienced New York immigration lawyer at Oltarsh & Associates.

New Law

On Oct. 8, 2021, Gov. Hochul signed Senate Bill S343A into law. This bill was sponsored by Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages in the New York State Assembly and Senator Anna M. Kaplan in the New York State Senate. This law makes it illegal to threaten to report someone’s immigration status to authorities.

Under this law, threats to report the immigration status of undocumented people are now considered to be coercion or extortion. This bill amended N.Y. Penal Law § 135.60 to add threats to expose a person’s immigration status as third-degree coercion, which is a class A misdemeanor. It also amended N.Y. Penal Law § 155.05 to include causing deportation proceedings to be initiated against someone in order to extort property from him or her, which is a felony.

It was already illegal to make threats to report a person’s status as an undocumented immigrant in the context of sex trafficking or labor trafficking. This law now also considers these types of threats to be either coercion or extortion in other types of cases. With the new law, prosecutors will be able to prosecute people who engage in coercion or extortion through deportation threats even when the overriding case does not have anything to do with labor or sex trafficking.

New York City Law

In 2019, New York City increased fines for threatening to report undocumented immigrants to immigration authorities. The NYC Commission on Human Rights made the changes because of the Trump administration’s call for people to report undocumented immigrants to ICE. New York City’s law makes these types of threats illegal when they are based on a discriminatory motive. Violations of this law can result in a fine of up to $250,000.

With the passage of the new state law, deportation threats will now be illegal across the state instead of being limited to NYC. Other states, including Maryland, Virginia, Colorado, and California, also have enacted similar laws prohibiting deportation threats.

Deportation And Removal Defense

Several defenses might be available to undocumented immigrants who are facing deportation and removal proceedings, including those whose immigration statuses were reported to immigration authorities through extortion schemes. There are a variety of different defenses to deportation and removal that might be raised, including the following:

  • Cancellation of removal
  • Adjustment of status
  • Waiver of removability
  • Review of removal
  • Political asylum
  • Voluntary departure

Defending against removal proceedings requires an in-depth knowledge of the grounds of removal and the applicable immigration laws that allow relief from deportation. Undocumented immigrants who are facing removal proceedings should work closely with an experienced New York immigration lawyer for help with defending against removal and pursuing relief.

Speak to an Experienced NY Deportation Lawyer

Threatening to report undocumented immigrants is now a crime across the state of New York. This new law is an important change because it protects people who are vulnerable. People who are facing deportation and removal might want to get help from the experienced attorneys at Oltarsh & Associates. We have more than 50 years of experience representing people in immigration matters. If you need help with any immigration issues, call us today at (212) 944-9420.

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