Mayor reduces ICE cooperation

Mayor reduces ICE cooperation
Dennis Van Tine / Abaca / Sipa USA (Sipa via Associated Press)

With the ongoing fear of increased deportation under the Trump administration, immigrants are reminded of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signing into law Introductions 486-A and 487-A, dramatically limiting New York City’s cooperation with overbroad federal immigration enforcement practices, except in instances where there are public safety concerns.

The two bills, signed into law since Nov. 14, 2014, also end the presence of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at Rikers Island and all City facilities.

“These laws balance public safety with the City’s commitment to being a welcoming and safe place for immigrant families and are consistent with the pledge Mayor de Blasio made in his ‘One New York Rising Together’ platform to end cooperation with federal ‘detainer requests’ for all residents, except those who have been convicted of violent or serious felonies,” said a Mayoral Office statement.

“Mass deportation has not only pulled apart thousands of New York City families, it has also undermined public safety in our communities and imposed disproportionate penalties on immigrant parents and spouses who these families depend on for emotional and financial support,” de Blasio said.

“Our City is not served when New Yorkers with strong ties in the community are afraid to engage with law enforcement because they fear deportation,” he added. “Today, we send another message to Washington that the time to act has come to provide relief to so many individuals who contribute to our nation’s growth.”

The Mayor’s Office said ICE Detainers are requests for local law enforcement agencies to continue to hold an individual after his/her case has been resolved – including if the charges they face have been dropped or dismissed, or when they are released on their own recognizance or on bail while their case remains pending – to facilitate pick up and detention by federal immigration authorities.

In 2011, under the leadership of then-Council Member Mark Viverito, New York City was one of the first cities in the country to enact legislation limiting its response to ICE detainer requests, reducing local law enforcement’s cooperation to 60 to 65 percent.

This was followed by a wave of over 200 jurisdictions nationwide adopting detainer discretion polices.

The legislation signed into law by de Blasio “consolidates the City’s leadership on this issue at the national level,” the statement said.

“It’s estimated that with the judicial warrant requirement, the new policy could bring the percentage of detainers to virtually zero and would prevent from 2,000 to 3,000 New Yorkers per year from being held in City custody for the purpose of helping federal immigration officials place them in detention and deportation proceedings,” it added.

Introduction 486A mandates that the NYC Department of Correction (DOC) will no longer honor requests by ICE to detain an individual for up to 48 hours beyond their scheduled release unless ICE provides a judicial warrant as to probable cause, and the individual in question has been convicted of a violent or serious felony within the last five years, or is a possible match on the terrorist watch list, the Mayor’s Office said.

It said Introduction 487A requires the same of the New York Police Department.

The new law also limits what information the City shares with ICE about immigrants in DOC custody, and prohibits ICE from maintaining an office or other operations at Riker’s Island (and all City facilities) for the purpose of pursuing civil immigration enforcement.

Additionally, the Mayor’s Office said the Department of Probation will be revising its overall policy and protocols in response to non-mandatory requests from ICE to be consistent with the law.

“This legislation will strengthen our City by fostering community trust in law enforcement, allowing police officers to focus on public safety, keeping families together, and protecting New Yorkers who have ties to our city, who are working, raising their families, and contributing to our community,” the statement said.

“The enactment of these laws also underscores New York City’s message on the need for federal action on immigration and follows the de Blasio Administration’s strong track record for helping immigrant New Yorkers access federal immigration benefits, from citizenship to deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) to the City’s response to the unaccompanied child migrant crisis,” it added.