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NEW YORK IMMIGRANT FAMILY UNITY PROJECT URGES ENACTMENT OF THE DIGNITY NOT DETENTION ACT IN NYS

May 20, 2021

Contacts: 

Alejandra Lopez, The Legal Aid Society, AILopez@legal-aid.org, 917-294-9348

Daniel Ball Brooklyn Defender Services, dball@bds.org 

Ryan Karerat, The Bronx Defenders, rkarerat@bronxdefenders.org

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

NYIFUP Urges Enactment of the Dignity Not Detention Act in New York State

Proposed Legislation Would End Immigration Detention Contracts with ICE in New York State

(New York, NY) – The Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services, and The Bronx Defenders – New York City’s defender organizations providing free legal representation to detained immigrants through the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) today released a memorandum in support of the Dignity Not Detention Act, sponsored by Assembly Member Karines Reyes (A.7099A) and Senator Julia Salazar (bill no. pending), upon its introduction in the New York State Legislature. NYIFUP also released the following statement:

“ICE enforcement and detention is racist, inhumane, and a danger to us all. It separates families, subjects people to the extensive trauma and harms of incarceration, deprives people of basic human needs and rights, and has killed hundreds of people. Yet in New York State, numerous county and city jails are paid by ICE to incarcerate people solely because of where they were born. 

The Dignity Not Detention Act comes at a critical moment as the Biden Administration begins to reckon with the violence of the immigration detention system.  Just today, ICE announced it will cut the contracts of two detention facilities, Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia, and the Bristol County Detention Center in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts. The end of these contracts is an important first step in ending ICE detention nationwide, and it is time for New York to join this growing movement.

The Dignity Not Detention Act will get New York State out of the immigrant detention business, putting an end to the inhumane and unnecessary incarceration of immigrants in New York jails and curtailing ICE enforcement by limiting its space to detain people. 

The deportation machine must end in all of its forms, and this legislation is one critical step New York can take to reduce its power and scope.”

BACKGROUND: The New York Family Immigrant Unity Project (NYIFUP) is the nation’s first public defender system for immigrants facing deportation—defined as those in removal proceedings before an immigration judge. Funded by the New York City Council since July 2014, the program provides a free attorney to almost all detained indigent immigrants facing deportation at the Varick Street Immigration Court in New York City.

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BROOKLYN DEFENDER SERVICES’ FAMILY DEFENSE BENEFIT 2021

We hope you can join us for Brooklyn Defender Services’ Family Defense Practice’s virtual fundraising benefit on June 10th, bringing together the families we represent, our valued partners, and generous supporters who make our work possible.

This year, we celebrate 14 years of keeping families together.

Honoring: Young Parents Who Are Themselves in the Foster System & Our Pro Bono Partners

For more information or to sponsor the event, please contact Lauren Shapiro at lshapiro@bds.org or Sabrina Paul at spaul@bds.org.

Purchase tickets here.

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DISMISSAL OF LOITERING FOR THE PURPOSES OF PROSTITUTION AND PROSTITUTION BENCH WARRANTS

On February 2, 2021 the New York legislature repealed the loitering for the purposes of prostitution statute, commonly called the “Walking While Trans Ban.” This means loitering for the purposes of prostitution is no longer a criminal offense in New York, and the records of past convictions will be sealed automatically.

In response to the loitering repeal, prosecutors in New York City moved to dismiss and seal certain cases charging prostitution-related offenses as follows:

Brooklyn: On January 29, 2021 and March 24, 2021, open cases charging prostitution or loitering for the purposes of prostitution were dismissed and ordered sealed. This includes cases in bench warrant status. 1,119 cases were dismissed.

Questions? Please contact the office who represented you:

1. If you have an open case or warrant for prostitution or loitering in New York City or an open case or warrant for unlicensed practice of massage in Manhattan and want to find out if your case was part of this mass dismissal, or

2. To confirm that your conviction for loitering has been sealed, or

3. To find out whether a conviction for prostitution is eligible to be dismissed or sealed.

Contact Jillian Modzeleski at Brooklyn Defender Services: jmodzeleski@bds.org

Or

Leigh Latimer at The Legal Aid Society: lelatimer@legal-aid.org