Public Advocate Bill de Blasio unveiled a plan Thursday intended to promote the safety and economic involvement of immigrants in New York City.
The plan would eliminate bureaucratic obstacles faced by domestic violence victims, who are eligible for a special visa, lessen cooperation with the federal detention and deportation process, and eliminate the city's Human Resources Administration's mandate that sponsors of legal immigrants repay the city for assistance sought by the individuals they sponsor.
"Our city can't be whole while hundreds of thousands of people are living in the shadows," de Blasio said.
Karen Kaminsky at the New York Immigration Coalition called de Blasio's proposals "common sense," and said they "will contribute to rebuilding a sense of trust between the NYPD and the communities they serve."
"NYC should not be in the business of helping deport people," Kaminsky said.
De Blasio's proposal includes legislation similar to that in Colorado, which would enable immigrants to get driver's licenses and auto insurance, as well as legislation that currently exists or is being put in place in New Haven, San Francisco and Los Angeles, which would provide undocumented immigrants with municipal IDs, giving them access to city services.
"We're seeing states and cities around the country take the lead in opening their doors," de Blasio said. "New York City has to retake the mantel of the nation's premier open city, that welcomes all immigrants and knits them into our civic life."
Council members, including Daniel Dromm and Gale Brewer, recently proposed legislation to allow noncitizens to vote in municipal elections. While Mayor Michael Bloomberg has generally been a vocal proponent of immigrant rights, his office said they would not support such legislation because it conflicts with state law.
The Mayor's Office of Immigration Affairs, established in 1984, is the only chartered immigrant affairs office in the country.
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