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State Senator

Saud Anwar

Representing East Hartford, Ellington, East Windsor and South Windsor

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Senator Anwar Advocates for Immigration Enforcement Reform

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HARTFORD, CT – Today, State Senator Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor) advocated for immigration enforcement legislative reform at a Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance press conference in the State Capitol. The conference immediately preceded a Judiciary Committee public hearing discussion regarding several proposed reforms that would provide increased protections for immigrants against judicial overreach.

“We are living in historic times,” said Sen. Anwar. “Many years down the road, your children, your grandchildren or your great-grandchildren will ask you where you were when, in our community and our state, children were separated from their loved ones. Where were you when families were separated? Where were you when people were judged based on how they appeared, depending on how they spoke? The answer to that: we were here, and spoke and worked to fix things in our State.”

The Judiciary Committee on Friday heard three immigration bills, Senate Bills Nos. 991, 992 and 993, which would respectively provide access to legal counsel for individuals in immigration removal proceedings, close loopholes in the Trust Act that allow law enforcement from having undue communication and collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and prevent individuals from being detained for the purpose of federal immigration authorities taking custody of them for minor offenses. These efforts were described with the phrase “Break the Prison to Deportation Pipeline.” A fourth proposed bill, not discussed Friday, would reduce the maximum length of misdemeanor sentences from 365 days to 364 days, closing a loophole that can allow authorities to deport immigrants.

Currently, the state’s Trust Act does not fully protect immigrant communities from overzealous ICE detainer enforcement. It allows law enforcement officers to decide on their own whether an individual should be held in detention, and it does not require ICE to obtain a judicial warrant to request an individual continue to be held in detention, CIRA said. Too-broad language even allowed the Department of Corrections to limit ICE detainer enforcement to just three of seven total categories. An updated Trust Act will hold ICE to the same standards as other law enforcement agencies.

Speakers at Friday’s press conference included Veronica Ubaldo and Gerardo Roblero, both immigrants whose families have been torn apart by undue deportations. Roblero, an 18-year-old who came to America from Mexico, saw his father deported after a minor offense; Ubaldo, an American citizen, saw her husband deported when his probation officer voluntarily worked with ICE to detain him. Additional speakers included New Haven Police Department Assistant Chief Luiz Casanova and Iva Velickovic of the Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School and Counsel for CIRA.

Additionally on Friday, CIRA released a report reinforcing the importance of immigration justice reform. The report exposes Connecticut Judicial Marshals aggressively enforcing ICE civil immigration detainers, in possible violation of the 2013 Connecticut Trust Act, and raises concerns about whether detainments without judicial warrants are constitutional.

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