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‘One Day Act’ could benefit immigrants in New York state


A change that took effect in the recent state budget legislation may have a big impact in immigrant communities.

It’s called the One Day to Protect New Yorkers Act, or One Day Act, and it changes the maximum sentence for Class A misdemeanors from 365 days to 364 days.

The change means these convictions will no longer trigger automatic deportation proceedings. Immigrants convicted of Class A misdemeanors may still be deported, but the change gives judges more discretion on a case-by-case basis.

A common misconception is that the change will protect undocumented immigrants from deportation, according to Camille Mackler, co-chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Immigration Representation.

In fact, Mackler said, any undocumented immigrant who is arrested will come to the attention of Immigrations and Custom Enforcement.

"We’re really talking about individuals who are here in some kind of lawful status and are at risk of losing that status because of a criminal arrest that may be magnified," Mackler said.

Gerard Kassar, chairman of the New York State Conservative Party, said New York should leave immigration to federal authorities and not try to work around federal law.

Mackler said, however, that immigration reform has been stalled in Congress for decades, and states are right to step up.

State Sen. Jessica Ramos, a New York City Democrat who co-sponsored the bill, expects it will help about 9,000 New Yorkers to remain in the country per year.