New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released new guidelines to protect immigrants, particularly the victims of crimes such as human trafficking.
On Thursday, the governor said investigative agencies including the state police, Division of Human Rights and Department of Labor can now certify or endorse non-citizen U and T visa applications.
These humanitarian visas provide protections for New York immigrants who do not have legal status. It also strengthens the ability of law enforcement to investigate and pursue criminals.
The state’s Labor Department uses the U and T visas to encourage immigrants to report employers who commit theft of workers’ wages or those who traffic and exploit individuals for their labor.
New York Ensures Crime Victims Get Justice Despite Their Immigration Status
In a statement, Cuomo once again condemned Washington’s policies on immigration.
He believes that the federal government’s immigration policies are a “relentless assault” that “had a deliberate, chilling impact on migrant communities.” Immigrants have developed “fear and distrust of law enforcement.”
Additionally, the governor emphasized that New York is “fighting back against these unconscionable acts” with its new guidelines. The state is making sure that “crime victims get assistance” and their “immigration status never gets in the way of justice.”
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said immigrant victims of crimes “should be protected.”
She added that the state is “working to ensure their safety” and will continue to fight to “secure their rights.”
Meanwhile, New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado stressed that the state supports all immigrants seeking safety. According to her, “Many of these immigrants are running from life-threatening conditions.”
Rosado added, “It is absolutely abhorrent that the Trump administration continues to take hostile actions against these survivors of violence.”
Cuomo’s administration is committed to providing a safety net for crime victims and/or their family members.
The Office of Victim Services is compensating eligible individuals for medical and counseling expenses, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages, and support. Their immigration status does not affect their eligibility to obtain help from the state agency.