As an elected official, Gustavo Rivera feels it is important that he represent all the residents of the 33rd Senate District, regardless of their immigration status. Having moved from Puerto Rico in his 20s, Gustavo has first-hand experience of leaving one culture and homeland for another.
Gustavo has fought to ensure that all New Yorkers are able to receive services from state government, regardless of what language they speak. As the sponsor of legislation in the State Senate that would provide translation services for New Yorkers accessing services, Gustavo was proud when Governor Cuomo issued a language access executive order that is currently taking affect so that New Yorkers, regardless of what language they speak, can take advantage of state services.
Gustavo Rivera has taken a lead aggressively fighting Secure Communities in the State of New York. Secure Communities is an immigration enforcement program that would mandate that all fingerprints obtained by local police be shared with the Department of Homeland Security. Senator Rivera, alongside immigrants’ rights advocates and other elected officials worked with Governor Cuomo to suspend Secure Communities in New York State. Unfortunately, the Department of Homeland Security has continued to attempt to implement the program in New York. Gustavo will continue to push back against Secure Communities and any other programs that create fear of law enforcement in immigrant communities. In order for our communities to be safe, we all have to feel comfortable approaching law enforcement, especially if one has witnessed a crime or been a victim of a crime.
New York State DREAM Act
As a co-sponsor of the New York DREAM Act and New York DREAM Fund, Gustavo Rivera has been aggressively pushing greater access to higher education for undocumented immigrants in the State Senate. In order to provide undocumented students with the same opportunities as other students, we as a state have to provide them with financial aid and grants to be able to afford college. While Gustavo feels that Washington D.C. needs to pass a federal DREAM Act with a pathway to citizenship for undocumented students, he feels that New York should continue to be a leader on immigrants’ rights issues and will continue to push for a New York DREAM Act.