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De Blasio Administration Announces Citywide Guidance and NYPD Protocol to Codify Restrictions on Assistance with Federal Immigration Enforcement

January 31, 2018

New guidance implements Local Law 228, and prohibits City agencies from entering into agreements that would place employees under the direction or supervision of ICE, including 287(g) agreements

NEW YORK—The de Blasio Administration today announced the issuance of citywide guidance and new NYPD protocols to clarify and institutionalize the City’s policy that it will not voluntarily cooperate with federal immigration enforcement activities, and will only coordinate in limited circumstances, including where there is a public safety risk. In addition, the guidance prohibits City agencies from entering into formal or informal arrangements in which employees are placed under the direction or supervision of federal immigration officials, such as 287(g) agreements with ICE.

“We have been very clear that that our police officers and employees will not be a part of a federal deportation force,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This new guidance reinforces that clear line. The City is committed to ensuring that immigrant New Yorkers have confidence in interacting with their local government in order to protect and promote public safety for all.”

“The NYPD’s job is to fight crime and keep New Yorkers safe,” said Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “This codifies existing procedure to ensure the NYPD is doing just that. The NYPD does not conduct civil immigration enforcement. The NYPD does not seek individual’s immigration status. Our work can only be done if every New Yorker has trust in the police and is willing to work with us in our collective efforts to ensure the safety of every neighborhood and every block of this great city.”

The new citywide guidance and the new NYPD protocols, issued pursuant to Local Law 228 of 2017, ensure that the City’s policy is institutionalized across the municipal government. In addition, the new guidance and protocols will ensure that any federal immigration officials’ requests for assistance will be reviewed in advance by senior City agency officials and assessed based on City policies such as the need to protect public safety, not for purposes of providing assistance with deportation.

The newly codified NYPD protocols have been issued to all members of the Police Department in an order from Police Commissioner O’Neill. Effective immediately, any requests for assistance with enforcement activities from a federal immigration enforcement agency are to be responded to in accordance with Local Law 228. Consistent with current policy, NYPD shall only coordinate with or assist ICE in instances where the citywide Duty Chief (that Chief in charge of citywide operations at the time of the incident) has identified a public safety issue and conferred with the NYPD Legal Bureau on the need to coordinate with or provide assistance to ICE. In emergency, life-safety related situations, the decision will be made by the highest ranking uniformed officer on the scene, with immediate notification to the Operations Unit.

City agencies, including the NYPD, will continue to cooperate with federal law enforcement agencies in certain circumstances, including as part of inter-governmental criminal task forces focusing on topics such as gangs, human trafficking, and terrorism, and by sharing information about individuals in the City’s criminal custody who have been convicted of one of approximately 170 qualifying violent or serious felonies under the City’s existing laws on immigration detainer requests.

The local law and the new guidance issued today prohibit City agencies from entering into 287(g) agreements in which local officers or employees are deputized by ICE to perform immigration enforcement. These agreements, which are in place elsewhere in the country, have been emphasized as an immigration enforcement tool by ICE under the Trump Administration.

The City remains in compliance with federal law and the U.S. Constitution, notwithstanding the U.S. Department of Justice's attempts to unilaterally impose immigration-related conditions on public safety grant funds that Congress intended to support local policing and prosecutors. The law and guidance do not regulate the disclosure of information described by 8 U.S.C. e 1373, which is governed by the City's generally applicable confidentiality policy.

“New York City has long been at the forefront of asserting local government leadership in immigrant inclusion,” said Bitta Mostofi, Acting Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “With this guidance, we are ensuring the solidity and longevity of the City’s commitment to restricting assistance to federal immigration officials where it is not in our public safety interests.”

“The NYPD should always be focused on ensuring the safety of all New Yorkers, while keeping a clear line between any deportation efforts within the five boroughs,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety. “The day we start helping ICE is the day we lose the public trust, which is why this guidance and protocol is so critical. I’d like to thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson and Police Commissioner O’Neill for their commitment to maintaining New York City as a sanctuary city.”

“While the federal government is looking to tear families apart, we in New York City are saying NO. I was proud to sponsor Intro No. 1568-A, which gives teeth to our promise to protect immigrant New Yorkers by codifying New York City as a sanctuary city. City agencies are now prohibited by law from partnering with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to enforce federal immigration law. As the child of two Dominican immigrants, this is personal to me and I am proud to take this step today,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal.

“It is important for our police officers and City employees to have clear guidance and protocol on how to interact with federal immigration enforcement, especially considering the overaggressive behavior of ICE agents. Public safety for all of our residents must come first,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.

“Today, the implementation of Local Law 228 is more vital than ever – we need to make sure that New York City agencies and their employees are not coerced by federal immigration authorities to jeopardize the lives of our immigrant New Yorkers by disclosing confidential and personal information,” said Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation. “At a time when our immigrant communities are constantly under attack from policies that do more harm than provide support, we fully stand with the implementation of this law. We must stay vigilant and protect those who contribute vastly to the economic and cultural engines of this city. We thank the City for taking swift steps to protect our immigrants and ensuring that the values of this sanctuary city are upheld.”

“We commend Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill for asserting that New York City remains a sanctuary city. This guidance document affirms that New York has and will protect its immigrants against being rapaciously targeted by federal enforcement to the fullest extent possible,” said Steve Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition.

“We fully support the implementation of Local Law 228 and are proud to call New York City a home where documented and undocumented immigrants can thrive, contribute to society, and pursue their American dreams,” said Jose Calderen, President of Hispanic Federation. “The NYPD and city agencies are meant to uplift, serve, and protect all New Yorkers.  Despite efforts from the White House to instill fear throughout immigrant communities, we are confident that New York will continue to lead the way and show our nation the value of respect, acceptance and dignity for all.”

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