One Day To Protect New Yorkers

One Day to Protect New Yorkers passed as part of the FY 2020 New York State Executive Budget in Part OO (page 50) of the Public Protection and General Government (PPGG) Article VII Legislation with Amendments to be included from Part MMM (page 152). This three-year campaign success amends NY law to reduce the maximum sentence on class A misdemeanor offenses by one day. Read our joint statement here and help us raise awareness on social media using this toolkit

Effective immediately, maximum sentence on class A misdemeanors in New York State is changed to 364 days. The bill addresses a mismatch in the way New York law overlaps with federal immigration law. Under immigration law, certain minor convictions that are punishable by a year or more leads to unnecessary, harsh immigration consequences. This change protects thousands of New Yorkers from being torn away from their communities due to immigration detention, denial of necessary forms of immigration relief, and deportation. Assemblymember Marcos Crespo and State Senator Jessica Ramos introduced and championed the bill earlier this session.

On April 12, 2019, the One Day to Protect New Yorkers Act was signed into law by Governor Cuomo. See how the new law impacts individuals with varied experiences with justice involvement

The One Day to Protect New Yorkers Campaign began three years ago with Assemblymember Crespo as the sponsor in the Assmbly, and State Senator Alcantara introducing the bill, until 2019 when State Senator Ramos carried the bill. The bill passed as part of the FY 2020 budget negotiations approved by the Cuomo administration and legislators from both houses, becoming law on April 1, 2019.  

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the United States are at risk of detention and deportation, particularly people with past or ongoing encounters with the justice system, due to the combination of current immigration enforcement policies and the harsh federal immigration laws enacted in 1996. 

Previously, a discrepancy between federal immigration law and the one year maximum sentence for class A misdemeanors in New York put people at risk of immigration detention, denial of necessary forms of relief, and permanent deportation. This one day overlap between the sentencing structures affected thousands of immigrants, who were being torn away from their communities without access to bail, due process, or a public defense attorney. This was the case even if someone was never actually sentenced to a single day in jail – it was the potential sentence itself that triggered the consequences.

The One Day to Protect New Yorkers bill will:

-Prevent deportation based on a misdemeanor offense
-Restore discretion to immigration judges
-Protect vulnerable New Yorkers
-Benefit the NY criminal justice system through more efficient plea negotiations, fewer unnecessary trials, and reduced pre-trial detention and post-conviction relief motions.

To learn more on what the legislation does, what it means for NYers currently or in the future facing misdemeanor charges in NY criminal proceedings, read our initial legal advisory.

Immigrant Defense Project

The Immigrant Defense Project (IDP) works to secure fairness and justice for immigrants in the United States. IDP aims to abolish a racially biased criminal legal system that violates basic human rights and an immigration system that every year tears hundreds of thousands of immigrants with convictions from their homes, their families, and their communities.

The Fortune Society

The Fortune Society’s David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy (DRCPP) works to build equitable legal systems and alternative approaches to justice, change counterproductive laws and policies, advance effective program models, and shift public perception. DRCPP works to advance policies to minimize the adverse ramifications of the criminal and immigration legal systems on individuals, families, and communities at the intersection.


Jackson Heights Post | State budget includes Ramos provision to protect [immigrants with justice involvement] from deportation

NY Post
| This new change in NY’s criminal law will benefit illegal immigrants


Queens Eagle | State budget includes ‘One Day’ law provision for immigrant offenders


The Fortune Society and Immigrant Defense Project released a joint press release celebrating the passage of The One Day to Protect New Yorkers in the 2019 New York State Budget. The new law will protect immigrant New Yorkers from harsh immigration consequences by reducing the maximum sentence for Class A misdemeanors by one day.

Times Union | Dems: Drop a day from misdemeanor sentences


Times Union | New York offers a state of opportunity for immigrants


On, read an in depth summary about the One Day to Protect New Yorkers Act. “The one-day sentence reduction for Class A misdemeanors will allow immigrants to avoid triggering deportation proceedings, which can begin when a defendant is charged with a crime carrying a sentence of one year or longer. The legislation provides that anyone sentenced to one year in jail on a Class A misdemeanor charge before that time will have their sentence automatically reduced to 364 days. The bill also would allow defendants to ask the court to set aside their sentence if “collateral consequences,” such as a risk of deportation, were involved. The legislation also would allow judges, with the consent of prosecutors, to vacate or modify the judgment against a defendant. They could also allow a new trial wherein the defendant would enter a plea to the same offense so the court could apply a lower sentence.”

On NY1 Noticias (starting at 4:50), NY State Senator Jessica Ramos discusses her co-sponsorship of the bill (A5964/S.1825a) that would amend NY law to reduce the maximum sentence on low-level offenses by one day to 264 days. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo adds the bill (A5964/S.1825a) to the FY 2020 New York State Executive Budget.

On May 22, 2018, The Fortune Society, Immigrant Defense Project, and other allies held a rally in Albany to urge lawmakers to pass bill A5964/S.1825a

Read the press release here, and view photos from the rally on our Facebook album.

Local press outlets also reported on the event – check out coverage from New York Daily NewsNPR, and New York Nonprofit Media.

Enjoy some highlights from the day below:

One Day Matters Rally
“New York stands for fairness and justice, not hate and division. The One Day to Protect New Yorkers bill provides a critical opportunity for the state legislature to protect not only thousands of immigrant New Yorkers, but the values that define our state.”
 Alisa Wellek, Executive Director of the Immigrant Defense Project

Khalil Cumberbatch at One Day Matters Rally

“As a native of Guyana and person who faced deportation due to a criminal conviction, I understand the trauma that mandatory deportation inflicts on immigrant families. We are committed to ending the mass deportation that continues to tear apart communities and families, and the dehumanizing racism and criminalization at the core of these systems.”
 Khalil A. Cumberbatch, Associate Vice President of Policy, The Fortune Society

Senator Alcantara at One Day Matters Rally

“As an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, I understand the continued need to persistently advocate for those most vulnerable under a rigid immigration system and ultimately be a voice for immigrants to ensure they are protected from arbitrary deportation. It is for this reason that I have introduced into the Senate S.4294, which reduces the maximum sentence for misdemeanor offenses from one year to 364 days.”
Former Senator Marisol Alcantara, District 31

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