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NYCLU Applauds City Council Bill Stopping NYC from Unlawfully Jailing Immigrants

The New York Civil Liberties Union this morning applauded New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s announcement that she would introduce legislation that would end the imprisonment of people without a judicial warrant at Rikers Island just so federal agencies can investigate them for immigration purposes. The legislation also expels Immigration and Customs Enforcement from its office in the jail, and ensures that the Department of Corrections cannot expend resources on enforcing immigration laws. A companion bill similarly ends the NYPD’s imprisonment of most people in similar circumstances.

New York City now takes the lead in joining at least 40 counties across New York State that have stopped honoring federal government requests that they jail people who have been arrested after they would have otherwise been released, thanks to NYCLU advocacy with the New York State Sheriffs’ Association.

“A foundational principle of our country is the right to due process. No New Yorker should ever be imprisoned unless there is a warrant for his arrest or a judge has reviewed his case,” said New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “The NYCLU applauds the speaker’s bill to end the unlawful holding of immigrant New Yorkers that puts them into deportation proceedings and rips apart families and our communities.”

In May, the NYCLU wrote every sheriff’s office in the state advising that imprisoning immigrants for extended periods without a warrant is illegal and opens law enforcement up to litigation. Citing the NYCLU’s correspondence, the Sheriffs’ Association recommended in June that people should no longer be held in custody solely due to an ICE request. Read more about the NYCLU’s work statewide here:

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