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The New York City Immigration Coalition may have its work cut out for itself this year: Its 10-point agenda is ambitious and will require action from Albany as well as cooperation from law enforcement.
The groups top policy priority is expanding access to college by passing New York State's version of the DREAM Act. The State's DREAM act which is backed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn would open up tuition assistance to students regardless of their immigration status.
Despite massive grassroots pressure, Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not make the DREAM legislation a part of his State of the State Speech in January. The Democratic-controlled Assembly has passed a version of the DREAM Act in the past and seems poised to do so again.
The Senate is a different story. The breakaway Independent Democratic Conference has indicated major support for the legislation but Senate Republicans have generally been opposed to the measure and have prevented floor votes. To add to the difficulty advocates face, it is unclear how many in the Democratic conference actually support the legislation.
Democratic Sen. Joe Addabbo said at a debate in October that he felt his constituents had a hard enough time finding money sending their children to college so he could not support the DREAM Act. His Republican opponent, Councilman Eric Ulrich, said at the time that he supported "some version" of the legislation.
City Considers Limiting Deportations
Two bills set to be proposed in the City Council today would further limit the city's cooperation with federal programs that seek to deport immigrants. The bills are in response to The Secure Communities Act which mandates fingerprints taken at local jails are compared to a Department of Homeland Security database. Anyone who is deemed an illegal immigrant is then marked to be detained. If the City passes these laws it will strengthen its reputation as immigrant-friendly. Gov. Andrew Cuomo symbolically withdrew New York from the program earlier this year. â€śWhat we donâ€™t want is New York Cityâ€™s agencies having to participate in deporting people who present no risk and in fact may be adding a great deal to the City of New York,â€ť Council Speaker Christine Quinn told the Times yesterday in an interview.
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