BDS Supervising Immigration Attorney Andrea Sáenz speaks out at a rally co-organized by the Legal Aid Society of New York calling for enactment of a law passed by the Legislature that would end the arrests of working New Yorkers for possession of utility knives they need for their jobs. The reality is that our clients suffer the serious and lasting harm of so-called gravity knife arrests before we even meet them. We fight like hell in court, but they can still lose their jobs, homes, and children, and – now more than ever – be deported for simple possession of a utility knife they’re required to carry for work. Working New Yorkers of color are particularly likely to be arrested. Many are detained on bail at Rikers Island, the horrors of which are well-documented. Governor Cuomo can finally end this injustice by signing legislation to affirm that manual labor is not a crime. Moreover, he can take a stand for immigrant New Yorkers by protecting them from the damning label of ‘criminal alien’ — and that is what this rally was calling for.
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