‘One Day’ Act to Protect Immigrants Included in State Budget

A bill that would reduce the maximum sentence for certain misdemeanors and protect immigrants from facing a deportation hearing has been included in the recently passed New York state budget.

The One Day to Protect New Yorkers Act, sponsored by state Sen. Jessica Ramos and Assemblymember Marcos Crespo, reduces the maximum jail time for a Class A misdemeanor by a single day to 364 days.

Jackson Heights Post’s Meghan Sackman explains the distinction:

The previous one year maximum sentence for a misdemeanor, for a legal resident (green card holder) or an undocumented immigrant, could mean automatic detainment, deportation, and rejection from relief programs, even if the defendant did not spend one day in jail. The potential sentence is what triggers the consequences.

Several advocacy groups such as the Immigrant Defense Project (IDP) and The Fortune Society have been working to pass this legislation for three years, arguing that change would help protect immigrants in Queens.

Sackman pointed out that “the bill comes at a pertinent time” given the majority of of courthouse arrests by ICE occur in New York City, according to an IDP report. Read more at Jackson Heights Post.

In a Queens Daily Eagle story on the provision, David Brand quoted Crespo as saying that “this legislation will allow for more plea agreements which will result in savings of court time and resources, as well as savings in time and resources for the free legal service community.”

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