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Mayor Bill de Blasio Signs into Law Bills to Dramatically Reduce New York City's Cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Deportations

November 14, 2014

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Introductions 486-A and 487-A further limit the request for local law enforcement agencies to continue to hold an individual after his/her case has been resolved to facilitate pick up and detention by federal immigration authorities

Mayor underscores need for federal action on immigration

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed 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 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.”

“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,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “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. 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. I’d like to thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the City Council for passing this legislation, which further establishes New York City as a leader in immigration reform.”

“This is an important moment for our city’s immigrant community,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This bill sends a strong message that while our nation’s leaders have dragged their feet on immigration reform- New York City can and will lead. No longer will a person be unnecessarily sent through senseless immigration red tape under this new law. I would like to thank Mayor de Blasio, Chair of the Immigration Committee, Council Member Carlos Menchaca and Council Member Daniel Dromm and immigration advocates for their tireless work in making this law become a reality.”

“We are continuing to work with our colleagues in the Administration and the City Council toward the shared goal of ensuring that undocumented immigrants who have not been convicted of serious or violent crimes are not needlessly exposed to additional civil immigration penalties because they were arrested. The signing of this legislation is a step in the right direction,” said Police Commissioner William Bratton

“This legislation authorizes the Department of Correction to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement only where it is needed to protect public safety,” said Department of Corrections Commissioner Joseph Ponte. “It is consistent with our own comprehensive reform agenda, which is building a Department that operates more safely and more humanely and in the best interests of all New Yorkers.”

“As a community justice agency, we are committed to the equitable treatment of immigrant New Yorkers and their families,” said Department of Probation Commissioner Ana Bermúdez. “I applaud Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Agarwal for taking action in defending and protecting the public safety and civil rights of New York City’s residents. We are proud to have collaborated with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs on creating internal policy that is aligned with this new legislation.”

“We must stop the deportation of individuals who pose no threat to public safety. Integration—not deportation—will make our communities stronger and safer,” said Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs Nisha Agarwal. “We are ready to support the President when he takes action to reform aspects of our country’s immigration system and we will continue to champion sound, progressive policies at the local level that minimize inequality and create economic opportunities, safety and stability for all.”

“All New York City residents, whether US born citizens or undocumented immigrants, should be treated fairly and appropriately. Most removal cases result in immigrants being permitted to stay in the country, said Counsel to the Mayor Maya Wiley. “But fathers and mothers might be locked up for no good reason, only to be later released. That is neither fair nor appropriate. By requiring a judicial warrant of removal, we do the right thing by families.”

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. Today’s legislation signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio consolidates the City’s leadership on this issue at the national level. 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. 

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 (1) ICE provides a judicial warrant as to probable cause, and (2) 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. 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 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 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.  

“Limiting ICE’s access to detainees at Riker’s Island is a very important step in the right direction toward protecting our immigrant communities,” said City Council Education Committee Chair and Bills Co-Sponsor Daniel Dromm. “ICE’s practices in the past may be unconstitutional and only served to divide families.  ICE’s actions made our communities less safe by increasing suspicion about cooperation with law enforcement agencies.  I thank the Mayor, the Speaker, my colleagues and the many advocates who worked hard to improve the lives of our immigrant neighbors by passing this legislation.  Our national immigration policy is broken.  We have a moral obligation to act on the local level to save our families and friends from deportation.”

“Signing this bill into law is a landmark step for our City as we continue to position ourselves as a model for the just treatment of all of our residents,” said City Council Committee on Immigration Chair and Bills Co-Sponsor Carlos Menchaca. “My work as Chair of the Committee on Immigration has involved examining and reforming how our immigrant communities access justice. While we anticipate action from the White House in the coming weeks, New York City will wait for no one as we work to ensure the safety of our residents, and secure the most basic legal rights of every person who interacts with our criminal justice system. I commend the Speaker for her fearless advocacy on behalf of immigrant communities, and the Mayor for his support of this legislation. 

“Hard working immigrants who contribute to our city’s culture, economy and overall growth, do not deserve to be turned over to ICE because of a minor offense; there are more meaningful ways for us to spend tax-payer dollars than holding immigrants that pose no harm,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras. “These two bills are a progressive step towards repairing the dysfunctional national immigration system and will protect the rights of immigrants. I am proud to stand alongside my colleagues, Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Members Dromm and Menchaca, in support of these bills.”

“Deportations tear families apart, destabilize our communities, and only further underscore the need for federal action on immigration reform,” said Congressman Joe Crowley. “New York City has always been a beacon of hope and opportunity for people around the world and I applaud the City for taking steps to ensure it remains welcoming to immigrants by enacting legislation that builds greater trust and encourages cooperation between our immigrant families and the law enforcement officials that protect them.”

“New York City has long been and should continue to be a destination for immigrants seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Introductions 486-A and 487-A help cement this legacy while ensuring public safety and cutting detention costs. These have been unfortunate byproducts of an immigration system in need of an overhaul. Mayor de Blasio and the city council, led by Speaker Mark-Viverito, have shown leadership on immigration issues at a time when our nation sorely needs it,” said Congressman Gregory W. Meeks.

“Ending cooperation with optional ICE ‘detainer requests’ for those who are detained on minor, nonviolent crimes is a policy that lives up to the values of our immigrant-driven city,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer.

“This is both fair and smart policy for an international city like New York,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “It’s a bold move, consistent with federal court decisions, toward ensuring due process and cementing protections for all residents regardless of immigration status.  Its effects will reach beyond the immigrant families of our city, especially in Queens, who have too often been subject to overly broad, unfair 'detainer requests'.  Just as important is how this will effectively facilitate greater trust between our residents and our local law enforcement, which is key to enhancing public safety for all New Yorkers.”

“I applaud the Mayor’s actions to end overbearing immigration enforcement practices,” State Senator Martin Dilan. “Today, immigrant New Yorkers are walking with their heads held a little higher and tonight, many families in my community will sleep a little more soundly.”

“This responsible, commonsense policy change will encourage every resident of New York City, regardless of immigration status, to cooperate with law enforcement and city services without fear of deportation,” said State Senator Liz Krueger. “It's also crucial that we ensure that our limited local criminal justice and correctional resources, funded with New York taxpayers' dollars, aren't diverted into serving an abusive deportation regime that's the result of the federal government's consistent failure to reform our broken immigration system.”

“New York City’s immigrant population has always been one of its greatest resources,” said State Senator Kevin Parker. “That is why I commend Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the City Council for their leadership in ending the presence of Immigration and Customs Enforcement at Rikers Island and all City facilities. With these new laws, New York will be protecting families from being torn apart by federal immigration policy that is badly in need of reform, and our city will be protecting the full participation of all New Americans in the civic and economic life of New York regardless of their immigration status.”

 “Across its centuries of existence, New York City has been the promised land for immigrants looking for a better life,” said State Senator Jose Peralta. “The passage of this legislation will help ensure that we honor that legacy by starkly limiting our participation in an unjust deportation system that rips families and communities apart. This act will make our City a stronger, more united place and I thank Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for their leadership on this critical issue.”

“The deportation of New Yorkers that contribute to the social and economic life of our City only works to destroy families, instill a sense of fear, hinder our safety as a City and curtail our growth as a society. The enactment of these laws ensures that the immigrant community no longer has to live in fear of our local law enforcement,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “We are a city of immigrants, and policies like these help us strengthen and protect our diverse population, while honoring our values as New Yorkers. I thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the City Council for restricting our City’s participation in the needless deportation of immigrants that call New York their home.”

“New York City is a city of immigrants and for centuries we have represented new opportunities and hope,” said State Senator James Sanders, Jr. “Mayor de Blasio and the council’s ICE detainee legislation takes steps to reduce mass deportation and will help keep communities and families together while staying committed to public safety. I applaud the Mayor and Council and look forward to helping families all across New York City.”

“I applaud Mayor de Blasio for his steadfast commitment to protecting the rights of our immigrant population. I have been a staunch advocate for immigrant rights, especially when it pertains to the unjust deportations that tear apart families and weaken communities,” said State Senator José M. Serrano. “These deportations produce a sense of distrust in the community between the immigrant population and law enforcement. The signing of these laws will remedy the situation by stopping these unjustified deportations.”

“I applaud Mayor de Blasio for signing this important bill into law. In a city of immigrants, all New Yorkers should feel safe knowing that their families will not be suddenly ripped apart because of a broken immigration system at the federal level,” said of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus Chair Assembly Member Karim Camara. “By feeling secure that New York is their home, immigrants will become even more active their communities and all New Yorkers will be better off as a result.“

“I thank the Mayor for signing two critical pieces of legislation that will have an immeasurable impact on our City,” said Assembly Member Ron Kim. “With the gridlock at the national level, our City and State must step up and send a strong signal to the rest of the world that here in this town, we welcome the hard work and determination of all immigrants. As the City and State that is almost always symbolized by the Statue of Liberty, we embrace the formula that made this country great, which is the promise of equal opportunity for all.  This is a bold step in the right direction and I am proud of our Mayor for this step.”

 “While comprehensive immigration reform is needed, the federal government has failed to act,” said Assembly Member Nily Rozic. “I thank Mayor de Blasio for taking steps at the local level to address this issue. These new laws will strengthen and help restore the trust between law enforcement and our communities.”

“I represent one of the most diverse districts in New York, with many immigrant families from China, Mexico and other parts of Asia. Our ‘new’ New Yorkers should never have to fear their families being torn apart by Washington's failure to act,” said Assembly Member Felix Ortiz.  “I will bring the fight to Congress with my state legislative colleagues from across the nation. At least New York City is taking a necessary step forward. We must move forward  and not let the clock move backwards.”

“Immigrants come to this country to make a better life for themselves and their families. This is clearly the case,” said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn and Queens Diocesis. “If immigrants feel welcome, if they feel strong, they will accomplish this goal and make our great Nation stronger. As Americans, we must understand that the idea of ‘welcoming’ is so important.” 

“This is an important piece of legislation,” said Former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. “The City Council and the Mayor should be congratulated on setting a precedent by tackling this serious issue and focusing on deportation efforts for dangerous individuals.”

“This is another, of many, positive steps by NYC in welcoming and integrating immigrants,” said Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of NY Executive Director Monsignor Kevin Sullivan. “Unfortunately such steps by states and municipalities are needed because of the ongoing failure of the federal government to enact to fair and human comprehensive immigration reform for the sake of individual immigrants, their families and our nation as a whole.”

“Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito should be applauded for enacting this historic legislation,” said Cardozo School of Law Professor Peter L. Markowitz. “No longer will New York City participate in destructive federal immigration enforcement programs which devastate our communities and undermine public safety. Today we are a safer and more humane city.”  

“This is a tremendous step toward greater protections for New York’s immigrant families.  Federal enforcement and detention practices have been tearing families apart without due process of law,” said Brooklyn Defender Services Executive Director Lisa Schreibersdorf, “Thankfully, the de Blasio administration and our City Council have shown that New York City cares about our immigrant families and will step in to protect them against an overly harsh deportation climate.” 

“By signing the detainer bills today, Mayor de Blasio is correcting a miscarriage of justice that has been committed against long term New York City resident immigrants for years,” Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights Executive Director Angela Fernandez. “By passing laws that limit NYC's collaboration with ICE, the city is enforcing constitutional protections for those most abused by our highly arbitrary and dysfunctional deportation aparatus.  The Mayor, Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Member Menchaca are to be commended for their pioneering leadership in ensuring that due process protections for immigrants are guaranteed and as a result, thousands of families in New York City will remain intact.”

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