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By Huge Margin, NYC Council Passes Bills Supporting Immigrant Communities, Limiting ICE

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This afternoon, this tweet with some good news caught our attention:

And, a report from the New York Observer:

The New York City Council overwhelmingly passed legislation today to stop the Department of Correction and the NYPD from honoring immigration detainers issued by the federal government unless they are accompanied by a judge’s warrant.

The council voted 41 in favor and 6 against on two bills that will largely end cooperation with the federal government when it requests an immigration detainer — which asks Corrections or the NYPD to hold a person for 48 hours when they might otherwise be released so that the person can be handed over the the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. The requests are often made when an undocumented immigrant is being released from jail for another crime, or if they have been in NYPD custody for questioning.

Under the new legislation, which Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he supports, the city will honor immigration waivers if the federal government requests them with a judge’s warrant — and even then, only if the subject of the warrant was convicted within the last five years of a violent or serious crime, or is a possible match on the terrorism watch list.

We got more of the story about today’s City Council action  via press release from Make The Road New York:

Today, two bills introduced by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito passed in the New York City Council. The bills, which Mayor Bill de Blasio will have to sign before it becomes official NYC law, require immigration officials to present a judicial warrant before the city would hold an immigrant in custody — something that was up until now done upon receipt of a “detainer” request by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The law further limits instances in which the city holds someone in detention on ICE’s behalf. Community, advocate, and policy groups responded.

“Today the City Council has shown that they value immigrant families and the safety of immigrant communities. Thanks to the Speaker’s leadership, what has been a goal for years is on the verge of becoming a reality: ending ICE’s presence on Rikers Island and stopping NYC’s collaboration with an unjust federal deportation system,” said Javier Valdes, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York. “This bill will protect thousands of families, save the city money and improve trust. We thank Councilmembers Menchaca, Dromm and Espinal for their support, and we look forward to Mayor de Blasio’s signing this into law shortly.”

“Our city is a trailblazer in protecting immigrants from detention and deportation, and this new law introduced by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is the latest example of that leadership,” said Ana Maria Archila, Co-Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy. “Drawing a bold line between local law enforcement and the enforcement of unjust and ineffective federal immigration policies is the only way to keep NYC’s communities safe and our families together.”

“The bills are the result of tireless efforts, commitment, and collaboration of Speaker Mark-Viverito, Mayor de Blasio, New York City council members, and community based organizations, who came together to craft legislation that will protect New Yorkers from federal immigration authorities’ intrusion into their lives, promote public safety, and ensure respect for New Yorkers’ constitutional rights,” saidGlykeria Tsiokanou from the Immigration Justice Clinic at Cardozo School of Law.

“Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, have demonstrated tremendous leadership and a strong commitment to immigrants by introducing and passing legislation that limits NYC’s collaboration with our highly arbitrary and dysfunctional deportation apparatus. The passage of this new and expanded detainer bill will ensure that due process protections for immigrants are guaranteed and that thousands of families in NYC will remain intact,” said Angela Fernandez, Esq., Executive Director of Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights.