This is an unprecedented time for New York City and specifically its unparalleled domestic violence advocacy community.  The Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence (OCDV) has heard from many of you about the many questions raised and fears created by the release of the federal administration’s new guidelines on federal immigration enforcement and related enforcement activity here and across the country. Specifically, advocates have asked us how these new federal enforcement policies will impact immigrant survivors of domestic violence in New York City. The City continues to stand with the 40% of New Yorkers who are foreign born and in particular is steadfast in its mission to protect the rights of every victim of domestic violence, regardless of immigration status. This has been a goal of our office since it was created.

To ensure that all victims of domestic violence are aware of the City’s commitment to them in this new and unchartered territory, we ask you do the following:

Know where survivors of domestic violence can access high-quality immigration legal services.
Each of the City’s Family Justice Centers provides comprehensive immigration legal services on-site. These services are provided by our partner agencies and are free and confidential. Survivors can also access free, safe immigration legal help by calling the ActionNYC hotline at 1-800-354-0365. ActionNYC is a program that offers free and safe immigration legal help from trusted community organizations, in the community and in the languages of the community.

Be aware of the City’s confidentiality policies with regard to immigration status.
New York City has a confidentiality policy to protect immigration status and other personal information. If an immigrant does share his or her immigration status, City employees must keep this information confidential and treat it like other confidential information held by the City.

For those survivors who want to report a domestic violence crime to the NYPD, know that police officers are prohibited from asking about immigration status from crime victims and witnesses.
Further, the NYPD does not conduct federal immigration enforcement.

If you or others in your community hear about an immigration enforcement raid, you can report it. You can contact the Legal Aid Society’s hotline at 1-844-955-3425.

Remember that all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, can continue to access City services.
Call 311 or visit the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) for more information, and please see MOIA’s Resources for New York City Immigrants. Additionally, domestic violence resources in every community are available on the OCDV website or by calling the City’s 24-hour domestic violence hotline at 1-800-621-4673.

Together, we can continue to protect the rights of all immigrant victims of domestic violence by spreading the word that New York City is a safe city – a City that fully supports the rights of immigrants to safely access supportive social and legal services and live a life free from abuse.

  • Commissioner Cecile Noel