Will New York City Give Up Its Sanctuary Status?
The Trump administration said on March 27, 2017 it would withhold federal criminal-justice grants from cities, counties and states that don’t fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities, a first strike in the new administration’s battle against so-called sanctuary cities. Attorney General Sessions reaffirmed this promise.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city gets more than $7 billion a year in federal aid, and he's threatening to sue the Trump administration if the federal government takes action against the city.
While Rochester, Kingston and Syracuse have embraced the definition of sanctuary city, cities like Yonkers, White Plains and Mount Vernon are taking a more cautious approach on how to balance state and local laws with the federal government’s edict. "We are definitely not a sanctuary jurisdiction based on that description because we do not willfully violate federal law," said White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach. See here.
There have been reports that NYPD cooperates with ICE regarding the criminal docket cases. It means that any immigrant who has an appointment date for his/her criminal case, now can be targeted by ICE due to criminal chargers that have not been resulted in any conviction. See here. Although currently, NYPD does not enforce Federal immigration warrants, it may be changed after the threats of defunding.
It seems that there is tension between Mayor DeBlasio and the New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill. DeBlasio refuses to honor Trump’s orders on cooperation with ICE. He has issued a directive ordering the NYPD to deny federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents access to school grounds unless they have a valid judicial warrant. See here. While O’Neill, seems not to be against such a cooperation.
For an immigrant (documented or undocumented) it means only one thing: to stay away from any courthouses as far as one can, and if one is facing criminal chargers, he/she should consult with an Immigration attorney ASAP.
We hope that New York City will stand with immigrants protecting family unity and common sense. New York State Bar Association organized a project to help those with limited funds to find immigration help: here.