The Barkan campaign for State Senate has released a new “Immigration Justice” platform that outlines a strong progressive stance on immigration and lashes out against ICE, the Republican-controlled State Senate, and the Trump White House.
Running in the Democratic Primary in Southern Brooklyn’s 22nd Senate District, Ross Barkan hopes to challenge incumbent Republican Marty Golden this fall after facing Andrew Gounardes in the primary. The 22nd District covers parts of Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, Gravesend, Midwood, Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Gerritsen Beach and Marine Park.
Ranging from city-level enforcement issues to statewide legislation, Barkan’s immigration platform consists of five main points:
First, Barkan’s platform calls for passing both the New York Liberty and DREAM Acts, two pieces of legislation he blames the Senate Republicans for stalling.
The Liberty Act would “establish that state or local law enforcement agencies shall not
stop, question, investigate or arrest a person based on perceived immigration status or suspected violation of federal immigration law,” among other stipulations designed to keep immigration status out of the conversation when at all possible.
The bill is designed to increase interactions with state and local agencies by those who would otherwise avoid them out of “fear or mistrust” and potentially lose access to services.
The DREAM Act would give undocumented immigrants headed to college access to the same financial aid and in-state scholarships as U.S. citizens. Calling the DREAM act “a moral obligation for any state senator,” Barkan pledges to vote in favor of the bill next year. Barkan is also a supporter of free tuition at SUNY and CUNY schools.
Statewide, Barkan also pledges to fight for a tenfold increase in funding for the Liberty Defense Project, a $10 million legal defense fund that provides access to legal counsel for New York immigrants. Calling the initial 2017 investment “not nearly enough,” Barkan is calling for a $100 million investment in the public-private partnership—about .06% of the state’s $168 billion budget.
In the city, Barkan is calling for an end to NYPD sharing fingerprints with federal agencies, and is intent on pursuing legislation to break the “deportation chain.” Comparing the practice of sharing fingerprint data, which can tip of agencies like ICE, to the broken windows model of policing, Barkan would work to keep the NYPD from sharing the information except in “certain severe cases.”
Even the act of showing an IDNYC can lead to trouble for immigrants—last month, an immigrant delivering a pizza to the Fort Hamilton army base was detained by military police and turned over to ICE.
And speaking of ICE… The final plank in Barkan’s newly revealed immigration platform is one that’s been gaining more and more recognition from progressive politicians: Abolish ICE.
Barkan pulls no punches, referring to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement group as “a racist deportation arm of the government,” blaming President Trump for ICE’s practice targeting of New York courthouses to arrest undocumented immigrants.
In September of last year, an ICE arrest at the Brooklyn Criminal Court shocked the borough, sparking outrage from progressive groups and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
While Barkan concedes in his platform that abolishing ICE is a federal issue and “will not come to pass until Trump is no longer president,” he hopes to limit ICE’s ability to operate in the state—by pushing the Chief Judge to bar ICE from courthouses or passing legislation to achieve the same goal. “Every state senator must be advocating for this,” he wrote in his release.
Running as a progressive Democrat, Ross Barkan will face off against Andrew Gounardes in the primary, hoping to challenge Senator Marty Golden. As of this morning, neither Gounardes nor Golden had specific immigration platforms on their campaign sites.