Critical Resistance New York City chapter (CRNYC) has been hard at work over the past few months to propel the Dignity Not Detention campaign forward with the Abolish ICE New York / New Jersey coalition. On Tuesday, May 2, CRNYC traveled upstate and mobilized with 30 different coalition partner organizations to the NY state capitol in Albany to lobby representatives in support of passing the Dignity Not Detention Act. The goal of our lobby visits was to garner both the number and appropriate mix of key legislators necessary to move the legislation out of committee for both the State Assembly and the Senate.


After breaking into teams, we lobbied several key decision makers for the better part of four hours, sharing stories of the violence of detention and discussing the ways that Immigration & Customs (ICE) contracts in NY state maintain and expand the prison industrial complex (PIC). We received positive engagement, with 4 legislators (and 1 pending) naming their commitment of supporting the bill.  



After a successful lobby day, we then bussed over to join our comrades from Troy, NY, at the Rensselaer County Jail, where we rallied against the county’s 287g contract and the jail’s history of abuse and retaliation. Local organizations Troy Sanctuary, Troy 4 Black Lives, NYS Jails Justice Network, and the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement were present in full force as anchors for the event. Several coalition members spoke about their experiences inside of the jail or in detention more broadly, including Ms. Q, a community member the coalition defended who faced retaliation from ICE when attempting to organize while in detention, raising awareness about the abusive conditions of ICE detention. 



Throughout the rally outside Rensselaer, energy and spirits were high. We received some media attention that will hopefully continue to pressure decision makers in our favor.


Beyond this past week, the chapter has helped drive weekly phone and email zaps to state legislators to urge them to pass the Dignity Not Detention legislation. We’ve also helped to resource people who are currently caged as well as recently released from detention, raising and distributing over $1,700 in funds over the past several months. Last month, on April 6, we held a press conference at Foley Sq. to amplify the lawsuit filed by Center for Constitutional Rights, New York Civil Liberties Union, and Bronx Defenders against Orange County Jail. To learn more about the suit, read here.


CRNYC is excited about the advances Abolish ICE NY/ NJ has been able to make over the last few months, including the recent endorsement from the United Auto Workers (UAW) Region 9A union (which also includes their Community Action Program). We look forward to winning this campaign soon and can’t wait for the day when we’ll end all ICE contracts in NY state.


Onward, for a world without cages or borders, 

-Critical Resistance New York City