Governor Kathy Hochul has signed legislation protecting undocumented immigrants from threats to report their immigration status. The law classifies certain threats to report a person’s immigration status as extortion or coercion under New York law. Threats to report a person’s immigration status can currently be treated as a crime in cases of labor trafficking and sex trafficking, but were not previously treated as potential extortion or coercion offenses.
The bill allows prosecutors to prosecute efforts to blackmail an individual by threatening to cause deportation proceedings even when unrelated to labor or sex trafficking. Similar measures have been enacted in California, Colorado, Maryland and Virginia. This legislation is based off model legislation recommended by The Public Leadership Institute titled “Prevent Extortion of Immigrants Act.”