WJCNY Applauds Executive Order No. 170

The Worker Justice Center of New York applauds Governor Cuomo in ensuring that all New York residents may safely access our state’s services without fear that one’s immigration status may invite negative collateral consequences; consequences as severe as being separated from one’s family through immigration detention or deportation. Indeed, it is not the role of New York State to engage in evaluation of one’s immigration status; it has been long-established that the area of immigration law and enforcement is a role reserved for the federal government.

Executive Order No. 170 prohibits state entities from inquiring into the immigration status of New York residents when such information is not otherwise required by law, relevant to a criminal investigation or necessary to obtain a particular service or benefit offered by New York State. This prohibition on such unnecessary inquires encourages public safety and security. Our communities benefit when all our neighbors feel safe and free to contact law enforcement when individual or public safety is at risk, or to access other government services that aim to provide stability and support to those in need.

We are encouraged by the issuance of this policy and we call upon state agencies subject to its provisions to immediately update their own internal policies and procedures to reflect the requirements of Executive Order No. 170.  Those policies and procedures must ensure compliance by state employees through training and accountability mechanisms for violations. In order to truly protect our immigrant neighbors and honor the contributions of immigrants to our great state, New Yorkers must have full confidence that the spirit of Executive Order No. 170 can be firmly relied upon.