“Cooperation between DOC and ICE cannot be supported by the Council and should not be supported by tax-payer dollars. New York City -- home to millions of immigrants -- should not be a willing participant in a program that separates thousands of immigrant families each year without a concomitant benefit to public safety.” (Int. No. 656 at § 1) With that New York City has thrown down the gauntlet. It will have no part in deporting illegal aliens and it will not help ICE in doing so.
Just two days before Thanksgiving, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg quietly signed into law an ordinance ordering all city jails to ignore certain Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers issued to deport illegal aliens from those jails. As a result, New York City jails will now release many illegal aliens back into the community instead of handing them over to ICE for removal.
The new Ordinance provides that the New York City Department of Corrections shall not honor ICE detainers placed on certain aliens by holding aliens or notifying federal immigration authorities of the alien’s release. This policy will apply to aliens who have never been convicted of a crime, have no pending criminal case, no outstanding warrants and are not subject to a final order of deportation. The ordinance also requires New York City jails to release illegal aliens without criminal histories and ignore ICE detainers issued to juveniles with criminal histories.
New York City is now one of the most immigrant friendly places in America. Earlier this year the state assembly proposed its own Dream Act similar to the failed federal law. And last month the Board of regents proposed making student loans and other benefits available to undocumented students. The mayor has signed a number of executive orders recently to make sure immigrants are able to navigate city bureaucracy without fear of running afoul of immigration authorities. Immigrants should be aware of their rights under the Mayor’s executive orders and may contact the mayor’s office of Immigrant Affairs which has attorneys on staff to assist free of charge:
Executive Orders 34 & 41
Executive Order 120
In July 2008, Mayor Bloomberg signed Executive Order (EO) 120, creating a centralized language access policy for New York City. Executive Order 120 mandates that all City agencies that provide direct public services create a language access implementation plan in order to ensure meaningful language access to their services.
Executive Order 128
Signed by Mayor Bloomberg in April 2009, Executive Order (EO) 128 officially establishes Immigrant Heritage Week, an annual Citywide program of outreach and education celebrating the histories and traditions of the City’s diverse immigrant communities. City agencies, educational institutions, and private organizations will all help ensure participation in this event to be held every April.
Local Law 31
Businesses that provide immigration services must follow the guidelines set by Local Law 31, the “Immigration Service Provider Law” signed by Mayor Bloomberg in 2004. This law introduced new protections for immigrants against fraud. If you are going to use a business to help you with your immigration matters, protect yourself.
Local Law 73
In 2003, Mayor Bloomberg signed Local Law 73, also known as the “Equal Access to Human Services Law.” This City law strengthens language access services for limited-English-proficient individuals seeking vital health and human services. The law places requirements on the Human Resources Administration (HRA), the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), and the Department of Homeless Services.