Fair Fares

Fair Fares would help halt deportations

Shutterstock

New York City’s transit system is a lifeline for millions of people. It connects seniors to medical care, brings students to class and transports New Yorkers to their jobs every day. Many of us take it for granted, and recent Metropolitan Transportation Authority fare increases may not really pinch our pocketbooks.

But for low-income New Yorkers, every penny counts and every fare increase makes mobility a little bit harder.

As public defenders, we see the consequences with our clients, many of whom have been arrested for fare evasion. In January alone, the NYPD arrested 2,000 New Yorkers for jumping a turnstile.

We have always strongly disagreed with the NYPD’s overzealous enforcement of broken windows, fare evasion policing because it disproportionately impacts communities of color and the poor – and it’s not the best allocation of police department resources.

But now, under President Donald Trump’s administration, the stakes are much higher and the end result for some could be detention and deportation.

Despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s assertion that New York City is leading the country as a sanctuary city, what’s actually playing out in local precincts and courts with fare evasion is a much different reality. Even though the NYPD does not directly communicate these incidents to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, arrests and personal information still percolate to ICE via shared city, state and federal crime databases. And fare evasion – a theft of services and crime of moral turpitude under New York state penal law – is a misdemeanor and, consequently, a removable offense per federal immigration statute.

The MTA’s March 19 fare increase will undoubtedly lead to more arrests for turnstile jumping because, for some, the fare is unaffordable. Poor New Yorkers already have to choose between groceries, rent, prescriptions, other essentials and their next subway ride. As long as the NYPD keeps enforcing low-level offenses in poor communities, immigrant New Yorkers will be even more susceptible to deportation by ICE.

Luckily, City Hall has a few options and the first and most obvious one is to finally end broken windows policing, which has plagued black and brown communities for decades, clogged our court system and countered attempts to reduce the prison population at Rikers Island and other city correctional facilities.

However, smart policymaking would bundle broken windows policing reform with a subsidy program to offer half-price fares for low-income city residents aged 18 to 64. Even though the MTA falls under state jurisdiction, City Hall can still allocate funding in the fiscal year 2018 budget to support such an initiative. The plan would benefit 800,000 New Yorkers and save eligible riders more than $700 per year off the cost of buying monthly passes.

With the threat of federal cuts looming, coupled with a contracting local economy, new initiatives might be hard to fund in next year’s budget, but we believe this two-pronged solution is worthy of the city’s support. It provides the needy immediate financial relief and access to our transit system, while eliminating a practice that can have dire consequences for immigrant families. New Yorkers from neighborhoods in every borough need City Hall to prioritize this now.

Seymour W. James Jr. is the attorney-in-chief at The Legal Aid Society.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.