City Limits Cooperation With Federal Immigration Officials at Rikers

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed a new bill into law Tuesday that limits the city’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities on Rikers Island.

The law will prevent the Department of Corrections from turning over immigrants with no criminal convictions upon their release, who are not known gang members or who are not on the terror watch list to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said it was an historic day for the city and immigrant communities in New York. "We are sending a strong and unified message that this city will no longer allow innocent immigrants who pose no threat to be unfairly detained and deported due to an antiquated immigration system," she said in a joint statement with council members Daniel Dromm and Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Bloomberg initially endorsed cooperation with ICE at Rikers, but later this year came out in support of the bill.

Information about prisoners at Rikers is shared with federal immigration authorities under an initiative known as the Criminal Alien Program. Agents from ICE, who are stationed at Rikers, can interview foreign-born inmates and decide whether they want to place the inmate on an immigration hold or detainer.

If a detainer is lodged against an inmate, the DOC will hold him for an extra 48 hours at Rikers after his case is closed to give ICE an opportunity to assume custody of the individual.

“Under the new legislation, if an inmate gets an ICE detainer but has no record of criminal history or pending cases, and no other record of being a threat to the community,  the Department of Correction will not honor the detainer,” said Sharman Stein, Deputy Commissioner for Public Information at the DOC.

The Criminal Alien Program, ICE argues, allows them to target an illegal alien with a criminal record and prevent them from being released into the general public and potentially committing other crimes.

But immigration advocates and some politicians have argued the city works too closely with ICE and that many individuals with no prior criminal record end up being deported.

According to the bill, in 2009, the DOC identified 12,710 foreign born inmates, and ICE placed detainers on 3,506 of them. While 22 percent had felony records, more than 50 percent had no prior convictions.

Councilman Peter Vallone, chairman of the public safety committee, who voted against the bill, urged the mayor to “return to his original stance and not support this dangerous legislation.”

“This will make our communities less safe,” Vallone said in a statement released on Tuesday.


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Comments [6]

fairly representative

The proper way to keep families together is to recognize the exclusions on birthright citizenship in the 14th Amendment and deport the entire family and stop allowing illegal aliens to take advantage of us via this and other loopholes while being aided by out-of-touch with reality do-gooders.

Illegal aliens could not possibly be "unfairly detained and deported" because they should not be here in the first place.

Our immigration system may be antiquated in the sense that it does not recognize that there are 7 billion plus people in the world and we can't absorb any more of them without turning this country into something worse than what the immigrants are trying to escape. Ms. Quinn has no concern for the environment or our resource limitations (like food and water, wildlife habitat), let alone her country and actual fellow citizens.

Dec. 09 2011 12:32 PM

Why isn't the criminal Bloomberg being arrested by DHS or DOJ? Since the Yo-Mama administration jumps out of their stained undies to sue every state that moves to enforce federal law, why aren't they busting this little ******* for usurping it? The people of New York should be going after Bloomberg themselves, and hanging him from the highest skyscraper.

Dec. 05 2011 01:03 PM
CROATOAN from Closer than you think

@Howard Hudson from Oregon, and I usually don't reply to these off topic remarks, but the need hit me.
You apparently disagree with me. That's fine. Only there is no cut and dry. Dealers or rapists, family folk or no USC children at all, it all boils down to a free ride. Let's say some green card holder with three USC children gets convicted a couple of times for whatever, stealing cheese, and INS gets him but the rapist that's pending his hearing, who snuck in across the border or stayed here too long for a vacation, gets out because the city won't honor INS's detainer. He's so damned happy he's gonna celebrate with a new situation. Worst case scenario, Hoo boy! Then the media will point the finger at immigrations supposed broken system. How can any sytem in America really work when we're a country made up of millions of opinions. I love this country but it's being taken advantage of. Leave me to my opinion. I really haven't questioned yours. Let's stay on topic.

Nov. 28 2011 02:36 AM
Howard Hudson from Oregon

This law will help keep families together. That will help US Citizen children have the support of both parents and prevent the machine of deportation from destroying more children's lives.

As for the ridiculous idea that you should cut DOC funding, haven't you already tried that in NY? And wouldn't the next step be for DOC to release anyone without a mandatory minimum sentence to meet their budget? Just so you know, many crimes that are far more troubling than undocumented dishwashing do not have mandatory minimum sentences. Drug crimes have mandatory minimums, Second degree rape (where the victim is 15 or younger) has no minimum. Who should be released early, the rapist or the drug dealer? Well, it'll be the rapist. Feel safer yet?

Really? Cut DOC's funding?

Nov. 26 2011 06:48 PM
Dave A

What a crock about illegal aliens "individuals with no prior criminal record end up being deported". They are here illegally and SHOULD be deported.

Nov. 23 2011 02:19 PM
CROATOAN from At this point, who cares.

Pathetic. What exactly Ms. Quinn is an innocent"illegal"immigrant, sitting in jail, waiting on a hearing one day. Pathetic. What about "innocent" repeat immigration offenders, or final deportation orders, or absconders from immigration law. Pathetic. Political agenda and a definite ignorance of what really should be allowed to happen is going to blow up in our faces all over again. The only thing history has taught us is that politicians could care less about their real constituents. The government should step in and take away DOC funding.

Nov. 23 2011 09:05 AM

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