Protecting Immigrants’ Rights



One in five people in New York State is an immigrant. While Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies harm all immigrants, they particularly impact children, poor people, and refugees, while undermining the very system of judicial process that protects us from tyranny. Immigrants -- with and without legal status -- are increasingly afraid to travel, to access essential services, and to simply live their everyday lives in the United States.


I am proud to have fought for immigrants’ rights in and out of the courtroom.  As a pro bono attorney, I represented a child from Honduras in applying for, and obtaining, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. He came to New York after his father’s death and was scared to return to his home country because of gang violence. He is now free to live and work in the United States, recently graduated high school, and is a soccer player.


Earlier this summer, I acted as “next friend,” bringing a petition seeking a writ of habeas (court order) on behalf of a child forcibly separated from her mother at the border. The child had been traumatized by the separation and was terrified of being placed in a prison-like setting. The case resulted in the child and mother being reunified on July 27, 2018, and released without detention.


As Public Advocate, I have fought tirelessly on behalf of immigrants, immediately making submissions in the lawsuit challenging the Muslim ban, calling for Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) to discontinue its practice of detaining people seeking access to New York Courts, and making pleas for pardons that would justify termination of removal proceedings.


In this time of increased hostility towards immigrants, it is critically important that the New York Attorney General protects New Yorkers from federal policies that hurt them and fights perpetrators of fraud who manipulate fear for profit. As Attorney General, I commit to doing just that. If elected, ensuring that New York welcomes immigrants and safeguards their rights will be one of my top priorities. In addition to continuing the advocacy and legal work on behalf of immigrants I have done throughout my career, I will:

  • Bring legal action to keep ICE out of our courts: our system of justice cannot function if people are frightened to seek the protection of our courts or participate in the administration of justice.

  • Investigate companies profiting from Trump’s draconian policies: this administration’s immigration policies have led to a drastic increase in the number of immigration detainees, and publicly-traded companies are providing much of the necessary infrastructure.

  • Work with other Attorneys General to protect 18 to 21 year old children: because of an illegal change in policy by the Trump Administration, children who have been abused, abandoned and neglected are now at risk of deportation. I will join with other Attorneys General to give them a voice.

  • Bring legal action to stop a rule that will make immigrants fear public benefits: no one should be afraid of seeking emergency medical care or using food, housing, and subsistence benefits.

  • Establish an anonymous hotline for victims of discrimination based on immigration status.


Read my full strategy to not just protect and defend immigrants’ rights in the Era of Trump, but also undo 20 years of Washington-driven anti-immigrant policies.