New York City Council Chooses Criminals over Public Safety

The New York City Council voted last week to impede federal enforcement of immigration law at the expense of public safety by helping criminal aliens in city jails hide from federal officials. Introduction 486 and Introduction 487, which were rushed through Council last week, prohibit officers in the New York City Police Department and the New York Department of Corrections from complying with detainer requests from federal immigration officials in all but very limited circumstances.

A detainer request asks local law enforcement agencies to hold on to a criminal alien for up to 48 hours so that a federal official may obtain custody of the criminal alien for the purpose of removal from the United States. In almost all cases, the legislation requires federal immigration officials to present a judicial warrant before a New York City law enforcement officer can comply. The problem with that requirement, however, is that removal from the country is a civil proceeding. Judicial warrants generally are unavailable to federal immigration officials unless they also file criminal charges against an alien. As even illegal alien advocates admit, the requirement of a judicial warrant will “in practice . . . end all deportation holds.”

The consequences of not cooperating with federal immigration officials will be dire. New York City law enforcement will be forced to release criminal aliens, whom already over-hesitant federal immigration officials have determined to be threats to public safety or national security, back onto the streets. What’s even more outrageous is that many of the criminal aliens subject to detainer requests have no legal right to remain in the United States in the first place.

Illegal alien advocates argue that this type of legislation is necessary to promote public safety because it establishes trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities. It is absurd, however, to suggest that immigrants do not want their communities kept safe from criminal aliens. Moreover, police do not inquire about the immigration status of witnesses or victims of crime, much less fingerprint them. The only people who will be protected under Introduction 486 and Introduction 487 are criminals who fall within the Obama administration’s extremely narrowed priorities for removal.

The New York City Council demonstrated last week cares more about criminals unlawfully present in the United States than it does about protecting its own constituents. It is almost unheard of that a law enforcement agency would refuse to cooperate with another law enforcement agency. Yet, unfortunately, for a growing number of communities under political pressure, making illegal aliens feel comfortable seems to be taking precedence over comity between brothers and sisters in uniform in need of assistance. Refusing to cooperate and assist fellow law enforcement is not a legitimate way for state and local governments to express opposition to immigration policies.

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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


  1. avatar

    So the next time an illegal alien in NYC kills or wounds a law enforcement officer (which sadly is inevitable), or even a resident of the city of NY, New Yorkers should remind the City Council that their duty is to protect the legal residents of NYC (including law enforcement), and not to protect the criminal alien community. And that the NYC Council is aiding and abetting criminal aliens in avoiding prosecution and deportation, which is a violation of the oath they took to uphold the laws of NYC. And just a wild guess……all those on the Council who voted for I-486 and I-487 are Democrats, right?

    • avatar

      The Democrats used to be the party of the average American worker. Now they are the party of Al Sharpton and amnesty. The White House has consistently rolled out the red carpet for Sharpton, a guy who is nothing but a race baiter who plays to the lowest common denominator in the black community. Any incident involving black vs. white has him rushing in to make accusations with no facts. The fact that the White House sent “representatives” to the Brown funeral in Missouri proves that when it comes down to it, they”re on the side of criminals who rob and assault shop keepers.

  2. avatar

    The assholes on the NY city Council are compering with the assholes in California for the title of the biggest assholes in the country. Competition is very spirited and there appears to be no clear winner,both state and city administrators are so full of crap,there isn,t enough toilet paper in the country to wipe their butts clean. What a bunch of idiots!