Bill Protecting Immigrants from Threats to Reveal Immigration Status Becomes Law in NY

Photo credit: Daniel Ernst

On October 9, 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul signed a legislation aimed at protecting vulnerable immigrant New Yorkers from those who would threaten to reveal an individual’s immigration status for the purpose of blackmail.

The legislation, S.343-A/A.3412-A, introduced and passed in the State Legislature by Assemblymember Michaelle Solages (D-Elmont) and State Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D-North Hills), amends the laws on extortion and coercion to also include making threats to report a person’s immigration status or otherwise cause deportation proceedings to be brought against an individual.

Extortion and coercion involve compelling a person to turn over property, or to engage, or refrain from engaging, in other conduct by intimidation, including threatening to cause criminal charges to be instituted against them. This legislation amends the Penal Law definitions of “extortion” and “coercion” to also include making threats for such purposes as to cause deportation proceedings to be brought against an individual, thereby making it a criminal offense to coerce or extort an individual through threats of deportation.

Similar measures have been enacted in California, Colorado, Maryland and Virginia.

The new law will take effect in 30 days after the signature.

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