NYC Hits Back At Feds By Maintaining That City Is Following U.S. Immigration Laws
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The city fired the latest volley in its war with the Trump administration over sanctuary cities, insisting in a letter to the Justice Department that its immigrant-friendly policies are in compliance with federal law.
The feud flared up last month when Mayor de Blasio and dozens of other mayors pulled out of a scheduled meeting with President Trump at the White House, after the Department of Justice sent a letter to New York and other cities demanding documents and threatening subpoenas if they weren’t produced.
De Blasio called the letter, the latest in a months-long back and forth, a “racist attack.”
In a letter Sunday, city Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter sent along reams of documents including copies of the city’s laws and executive orders on immigration enforcement.
“The City’s laws, policies and practices comply with and operate within the constitutional bounds of” federal law, Carter wrote. “These policies have helped New York City become the safest big city in the country by building civic trust and encouraging public interactions with local government, especially local law enforcement.”
New York generally prohibits its cops and other officials from participating in the enforcement of immigration law. A city law requires police and jails to refuse most so-called detainer requests, in which the feds ask for an immigrant who has been arrested to be handed over into their custody for possible deportation.
The city only honors detainers where the immigrant has been convicted of one of 170 serious crimes, and the feds have a warrant. In 2017, the NYPD got 1,526 detainer requests — up from just 80 the year before — and rejected all of them.
The Trump administration is threatening to yank law enforcement grant money from New York and 22 other cities, states and counties over their immigration policies.
At stake for the city is a relatively modest $4.3 million in Byrne Justice Assistance Grant money received in 2016, which the feds could take back. New York also applied for the grant for 2017, but has not received a response to its application.
In its January letter, the Justice Department demanded copies of all orders, directives, instructions, or guidance to law enforcement employees regarding how they may communicate with ICE, DOJ, or Homeland Security agents. The city provided those documents with its letter Sunday.
DOJ said after a preliminary review in October that it believes New York, Chicago, New Orleans, and Philadelphia were out of compliance with a federal law governing communications with immigration authorities, which would make them ineligible for the grant money.
This article is written by Erin Durkin from New York Daily News and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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