The New York Civil Liberties Union will today testify before the City Council that passage of two bills will help New York City take the lead in a nationwide movement in which communities are putting the safety and trust of their residents and respect for the Constitution before federal requests to detain immigrants. If passed, the legislation would end the practice of unconstitutionally imprisoning people without a judicial warrant so federal agencies can investigate them for immigration purposes.
“The most fundamental duty a government has is to keep its community members safe. The City Council has recognized that duty with these bills and taken an important step toward ensuring that all New Yorkers are protected and served by city agencies, regardless of their immigration status,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “The NYCLU applauds the City Council for standing up for New York City’s most vulnerable residents, and the Constitution.”
In addition to ending the warrantless detention of immigrant New Yorkers for immigration purposes, the pair of bills – Intros. 486 and 487 – also separates local New York City authorities from federal immigration enforcement by evicting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from its office at Rikers Island, and prohibiting the Department of Corrections (DOC) from expending resources to enforce civil immigration laws.
When the bills pass, New York City will join the ranks of Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago, as well as more than 225 other local law enforcement agencies nationwide in rejecting the federal requests absent a judicial warrant. At least 40 counties across New York State have also stopped honoring the requests, thanks to NYCLU advocacy with the New York State Sheriffs’ Association.
“The City Council is making community trust, public safety and the right to due process for all New Yorkers paramount,” said NYCLU Advocacy Director Johanna Miller. “By adopting these bills, and with its long history of embracing its immigrant communities and their contributions to its diversity, culture, and economic strength, New York City is confirming its role as an international city and a leader the rest of the country can learn from.”