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The Remarks of Speaker Carl E. Heastie

Press Conference Announcing Impending Passage Of
"The New York State Liberty Act"
Monday, February 6, 2017
1:15 p.m.
"Million Dollar Staircase", Albany

Good afternoon.

Today the Assembly Majority stands in solidarity with New Yorkers from all over the world who have made their homes in communities across this great state.

We stand beside them because they are our friends and neighbors, our educators and business owners, healthcare innovators and so much more.

With this in mind, later today the Assembly Majority will take up and pass a wave of measures to protect the well-being of our immigrant communities and to ensure access to the support services and resources they need to live full and engaged lives in our state.

Today's actions will include new legislation, the New York State Liberty Package, fifth passage of the DREAM Act and other proposals to uphold the indelible protections against discrimination and unjust detention or deportation on the basis of race, religion, or national origin.

I want to thank Assemblymember Francisco Moya, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, who is under the weather today and unable to join us… Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force chair Assemblymember Marcos Crespo and chair of the Task Force for New Americans, Assemblymember Michaelle Solages.

I also want to thank the Assembly Majority Conference for their support of these much-needed protections.

In just a moment you will hear from our bill sponsors who will provide more details on their legislation, followed by representatives from our advocate partners.

We are thankful to be joined today by Make the Road New York, the New York Immigration Coalition and proud members of our diverse immigrant communities.

It is undeniable that recent events have left families and communities clouded in fear. The promise of freedom and tolerance that has allowed millions to seek refuge and realize their dreams of a brighter future is fading and we must not allow this to happen.

We simply cannot achieve our mission to put families first if the most vulnerable among us are forced to live in the shadows, under threat of persecution and deportation, or worse, cut off from critical services they need to live lawful and independent lives.

Liberty has special meaning to us here in New York State. As New Yorkers we know all too well the meaning of loss and sacrifice but what defines us, is our resilience and our courage.

For more than a century, the Statue of Liberty has stood in New York Harbor. She is a proud reminder that at the heart of every family and every New Yorker, there is a story that began with the courage to dream and the promise of a brighter future for their children.

Over the last few weeks, we have watched as the tears of Lady Liberty spilled into demonstrations of unity across the globe. With these actions we take today, the Assembly Majority defends her legacy of hope for future generations.

We will not allow fear to win.

It is our belief that we all have a moral obligation to ensure that vulnerable individuals are not exploited and that the rights afforded to them under the Constitution are defended.

I will now turn it over to Assemblymember Moya who will tell us more about today's important legislation.