New York State has a critical opportunity to protect trans & immigrant communities as the Trump administration erases their very existence. The state MUST pass S2253/A654 to repeal #WalkingWhileTrans & S4981a/A6983a to protect trafficking survivors this session!
The walking while trans ban allows police to profile, harass and arrest women of color and TGNC communities for “wearing a skirt,” “standing somewhere other than a bus stop or taxi stand” – simply existing in public space. The statute is discriminatorily applied. In 2018, 49% of people arrested were Black. 42% of people arrested were Latinx. Only 7% of people arrested were white. At least 80% of people arrested were identified as female. Walking while being trans is not a crime, and on the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall, it is critical that we pass legislation this session so that trans communities don’t feel their existence is illegal. The Progressive Caucus urges legislative leadership to move S2253/A654, sponsored by Senator Hoylman and Assemblymember Paulin, to a vote.
The Caucus also calls upon the New York State Legislature to pass S4981a/A6983a, sponsored by Sen. Ramos & Assembly member Gottfried. This is a bill that allows survivors of human trafficking to vacate records for crimes their traffickers forced them to do. This bill is especially critical for New York’s immigrant communities. By making their criminal records eligible for avacatur, S4981/06983 allows survivors to overcome what would otherwise be an insurmountable barrier to securing stable housing, employment, and social services access, and allows them to move on with their lives.
Many immigrants in trafficking situations, whether they’re trafficked into the sex trades, domestic work, agriculture, or construction, have criminal charges from their exploitation that prevent them from adjusting their immigration status or applying for citizenship, disqualify them from VAWA Self Petition or Battered Spouse Waiver if they’re married to an abusive citizen or green card holder, and make them vulnerable to deportation every day. Passing this bill would be life-changing and it is vital New York State do everything it can to protect our immigrant communities this session because these vulnerable New Yorkers should not and cannot wait another year. The bill passed the Assembly last week, and the Caucus urges state legislative leadership to move the bill to a Senate vote today.