Bill Seeks to Forbid NYC Contracts with ICE

Daisy Rodríguez, a member of MRNY, wants ICE abolished. (Photo by Mariela Lombard via El Diario)

Abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office (ICE) might be a long shot, but at least New York City is taking steps to make “la migra’s” job more difficult. On Thursday, the City Council held its first hearing to discuss a bill that would ban any type of contract between the city and the federal immigration agency.

The piece of legislation, introduced by Council member Carlos Menchaca, chair of the Committee on Immigration, seeks to be the first attempt in the nation to have an open and public discussion about ICE and its role in immigration enforcement.

Menchaca explained that the idea is to explore what the city would look like without ICE’s presence and how to establish a “more humane and sensible” immigration system.

“There’s no doubt that the question around ‘Abolish ICE’ has reached fever pitch, and rightly so,” Menchaca said, stressing the importance of having residents share their experiences and encounters with agents.

If bill Intro 1092 becomes law, the city will be forbidden from entering contracts with entities committed to enforcing immigration laws and who penalize the presence, entrance or return of individuals to the United States. It will also prevent the city from providing goods or services to those agencies for a fee. The law would apply to current contracts, and take effect 60 days after its passage. [Editor’s note: In July, Sludge reported on more than 2,000 contracts ICE holds with New York, Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Diego and other sanctuary cities across the U.S.] 

“This is a permanent law but we still have to get it right on a state level,” said Menchaca, who pointed out that the Big Apple is and will continue to be a sanctuary city and that it “should take pride” of that fact.

The bill has the support of City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who stressed its importance during the hearing, adding that every effort needs to be made to prevent ICE from “separating immigrant children from their families.” (…)

Daisy Rodríguez, who is Puerto Rican, has lived in New York City for 40 years and has been a member of pro-immigrant organization Make the Road New York (MRNY) for 17 years. She arrived early to support Council member Menchaca, and said that this is “the only way to end the abuse against our community.”

Rodríguez joined a group of residents carrying signs that read “Abolish ICE” who called on the authorities to pass the bill and create other mechanisms to strengthen homeland security.

“What they are doing against the Latino community is unfair. The way they are separating those children [from their parents] at the border is terrible. [Politicians] need to sit down and evaluate other ways to solve problems,” said Rodríguez.

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New York’s ICE office refused to comment regarding the bill, stating that they need to review it in depth first.

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