New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Democrat lawmakers are eyeing new legislation which would change sentencing mandates for misdemeanor crimes in an effort to help illegal aliens avoid deportation.
The move would allow illegal migrants to avoid raising red flags designed to alert federal immigration authorities.
Cuomo, an outspoken critic of President Trump and his administrations’ efforts to curb illegal migration, has proudly boasted of the state’s “sanctuary” policies.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers in New York are set to advance legislation as part of the state budget to protect undocumented immigrants convicted of Class A misdemeanors from deportation by limiting the maximum sentence for those charges to 364 days—rather than one year.
The proposal was included in the first of many bills expected to be introduced Thursday night that will eventually make up the entirety of the state budget, which lawmakers are set to pass on Sunday.
The one-day sentence reduction for Class A misdemeanors will allow undocumented immigrants to avoid triggering deportation proceedings, which can begin when a defendant is handed a sentence of one year or longer.
The idea has been proposed by Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, D-Bronx, for the last three years but hadn’t made much progress during that time. Cuomo included it in his executive budget proposal in January, after which it gained support among more Democrats in the Legislature.
Chances of the bill becoming law in years past were unlikely because Republicans controlled the state Senate. Democrats took a firm majority in the chamber this year for the first time in nearly a decade, which breathed new life into the legislation. It’s sponsored in the Senate by state Sen. Jessica Ramos, D-Queens.
The text of the bill is relatively straightforward. It would change the state penal law to reduce the maximum sentence for Class A misdemeanors in New York to 364 days. A few examples of charges at that level include petit larceny and endangering the welfare of a child, but there are countless other offenses with that status.
It also would benefit undocumented immigrants who received a one-year sentence on Class A misdemeanor charges before the bill became law. The legislation provides that anyone sentenced to one year in jail on a Class A misdemeanor charge before that time will have their sentence automatically reduced to 364 days.
The bill also would allow defendants to ask the court to set aside their sentence if “collateral consequences,” such as a risk of deportation, were involved. That would be useful in cases where an immigrant chose to forego negotiating with prosecutors on a plea deal to have the charges against them reduced.