Assembly GOPers push crackdown on sanctuary cities
As the national debate over immigration intensified, Republicans in the New York State Assembly were pushing legislation aimed at cutting state funding to so-called sanctuary cities that harbor undocumented immigrants.
Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) said she recently signed on to legislation sponsored by Assemblymember Dean Murray (R-C-Suffolk County) that would prohibit local governments from interfering with federal homeland security operations.
The GOP bill, known as the New Yorkers Combating Alien Recidivism and Ending Sanctuary (NY CARES) Act, seeks to prevent the existence of “sanctuary cities,” municipalities that Republicans said take steps to avoid cooperating with federal immigration officials.
The NY CARES Act would prohibit state funding to any county, city, town or village determined to be in willful violation of immigration laws. The local municipality would be obligated to provide proof of compliance to the New York state comptroller before any state funds are disbursed, Malliotakis said.
Republicans pointed to two resolutions enacted by the New York City Council in 2014 which, the GOP charged, would prohibit the New York City Department of Correction and NYPD from cooperating in efforts by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain undocumented immigrants, unless the efforts are accompanied by a federal warrant.
Under the City Council resolutions, the agencies would not have to comply with the feds unless the person has been convicted of a serious crime or poses an immediate threat to national security, Malliotakis said.
Citing statistics from the NYPD’s Summary of Statistics on ICE Detainers, Mallitakis said the Police Department received 504 immigration detainer notices between Oct. 1, 2014 and Sept. 30, 2015.
Only 30 of these detainers were honored and 474 were denied, she said.
“ICE limits the issuance of civil detainers to situations where the individual is considered dangerous or has already been convicted of breaking the law. So, the fact that the city of New York honored less than 6 percent of civil detainers truly alarms me,” said Malliotakis. “We cannot continue to turn a blind eye as New York City breaks federal law. The state of New York should punish this unlawful behavior and force the city to comply with the law for the protection of its citizens.”
Murray, who said the state “can’t afford to be lax when it comes to securing our communities,” added that sanctuary cities must be eliminated.
“No one, regardless of legal status, should be exempt from federal laws,” he said.
Malliotakis said the blame for sanctuary cities belongs in large part to the federal government.
“The lack of urgency from Washington to reform and enforce immigration laws and reign in sanctuary cities is leading to very flawed, misguided and potentially dangerous policies at the local level,” she said.
Illegal immigration has become a talking point for several of the candidates running for president.
Republican front-runner Donald Trump has talked repeatedly on the campaign trail about building a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. On Wednesday, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders clashed over the issue of immigration during a debate in Miami.