It seems that New York City may not quite be the “sanctuary” that it claims to be. The Daily News has learned that the NYPD alerts federal immigration agents when illegal immigrants are scheduled to appear in Criminal Court facing deportation. As a “sanctuary city,” NYC only currently complies with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “detainer” orders in cases involving violent or serious felonies. But apparently, the NYPD will contact appropriate law enforcement, including ICE, alerting them to an immigrant’s upcoming appearance in a city courtroom. Advocates of the sanctuary status denounced the finding saying it is “collusion” with immigration officials and it goes against the “spirit” of Mayor De Blasio’s pledge to keep the city as a “sanctuary” for immigrants.
Public defenders representing two men that ICE was interested in said they were “stunned” to learn that the NYPD communicated with the federal agency about both of them before they appeared before a judge. On March 2nd, an NYPD administrative aid noted in the booking system that he had “notified ICE” about the arrest of David Gonzalez. The deported felon had reentered the U.S. and faced a misdemeanor charge of allegedly rubbing against a woman on a train. On March 15th, the same administrative aid noted that he was “awaiting a call from local ICE office” about Milton Chimborazo who was arrested on burglary charges. He had a standing deportation order. In both cases, ICE agents were able to show up in court and take the men into custody after being released by the judge. They chose not to arrest Chimborazo for reasons that are not known.
Lori Zeno, co-founder and deputy director of Queens Law Associates, said, “I think it really is outrageous. We are supposed to be a sanctuary city. What does it mean if our own court system is participating in turning folks into ICE?” Zeno went on to declare, “The mayor can issue a command to the Police Department that they shouldn’t be calling ICE. Cooperating with ICE is one thing … But to me, they seem to be in collusion with ICE.”
What do you think about this? Is it so wrong for the police and the courts to be in “collusion” with federal officials?