Planned Expansion of List of ‘Deportable’ Crimes in NYC Draws Outcry

Rallying in May 2018 to stop ICE from entering NY courts. (Photo by Mariela Lombard via El Diario)

The controversial list of 170 crimes that could be grounds for deportation in New York, which makes an immigrant detained under such charges ineligible for city legal defense services and subject to being delivered to ICE, is causing controversy again after it became known on Thursday that City Hall is considering adding seven more offenses to the list.

The city is proposing expanding the list to include major offenses such as promoting underage prostitution, inciting prostitution-related activities in a school zone, and child sex trafficking, among others.

(…) According to a spokesperson, the seven new offenses were established by the New York State Legislature after the city initially limited its cooperation with federal immigration authorities as part of legislation the state approved in November 2014.

(…) Javier H. Valdés, co-executive director of Make the Road New York (MRNY), said he finds it worrying that “the mayor is proposing expanding the circumstances in which New York City would cooperate with ICE’s efforts to separate immigrant families. The mayor must change course, and all other current elected officials and candidates to lead our city in the future must make clear that this is unacceptable.”

The activist pointed out that the Big Apple has been a leader in drawing a clear line when it comes to applying the law at the local level in contrast with federal immigration enforcement. This has improved public safety for all New Yorkers while protecting immigrants, he said.

Mizue Aizeki, executive director of the Immigrant Defense Project, recalled that in just the past six months alone, “the Trump administration has proposed expelling from public housing families with mixed immigration status, has taken measures to deport or deny status adjusting processes to people using public benefits for which they qualify like food stamps, and ICE officials keep posing as NYPD officers to carry out raids.”

Aizeki added: “While immigrant communities are under siege, Mayor de Blasio, on the other hand, is investing time and resources to find ways to expand cooperation with ICE, an agency that undermines our values, violates constitutional rights and threatens residents’ safety.”

Both MRNY and the Immigrant Defense Project form part of the coalition ‘ICE out of Rikers,’ which in 2014 carried out the campaign that led to the approval of state bills protecting immigrants from ICE’s arbitrary detentions.

(…) That’s why activists say that with the new mayoral proposal, New York would stray from its goal to protect immigrant communities and would instead support Trump’s campaign of hatred and fear, putting immigrant families at risk.

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