There has been a lot of talk about how Mayor Bill De Blasio is more pro-immigrant than his predecessor. Reality tells a different tale.
In De Blasio’s State of the City address earlier this year, everyone applauded his warm words on undocumented immigrants. He promised that Municipal ID cards would be available to all residents of New York City regardless of their immigration status: “so that no daughter or son of our city goes without bank accounts, leases, library cards, simply because they lack identification.”
Veering away from the concrete, he concluded: “To all of my fellow New Yorkers who are undocumented, I say: New York City is your home, too, and we will not force any of our residents to live their lives in the shadows,”
Unless you are deported and ripped away from your family because of New York City’s voluntary cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”.)
New York City likes to pretend more than act as pro-immigrant.
In 2013, Christine Quinn announced the passage of two bills that purported to stop a significant amount of individuals from being handed over to ICE, saying that:
“We have seen too many families torn apart by current detention and deportation practices. Our legislation will ensure that the city does not enable such a harmful policy.”
With great dismay, I realized that this legislation was mostly just for show: New York City would still hand over immigrants with outstanding orders of deportations and of persons previously ordered deported who returned unlawfully afterwards. The two latter classes of individuals make up the vast majority of persons deported from the U.S. In other words, New York City’s 2013 legislation did almost nothing to stem the destruction of immigrant families living in its neighborhoods.
And the data backs this up. The Department of Correction granted 73 % of all requests submitted by ICE and transferred 3000 people to ICE between October 2012 and September of 2013, according to a Daily News Article.
Two of those 3000 were our clients, Werner and Oscar. Neither had ever been convicted of a crime.
Oscar was abruptly torn away from his two infant twin girls after being arrested for having an open beer can. Werner was forcefully separated from his U.S. citizen wife and stepdaughter after being arrested on bogus charges after a traffic stop. All charges were dismissed.
Bill De Blasio is still complicit in destroying families like that of Oscar and Werner.
A recent campaign called ICE-Free NYC is requesting that the city to “refuse to allow ICE into city jails to look for people to deport. Also, they say, it should stop holding people once they have finished serving time for their conviction and have paid their debt to society — with no exceptions.”
De Blasio’s response was to repeat that it was immigrant friendly while not addressing the fact that it still cooperates with ICE to separating families for no reason.
Maybe De Blasio should give Barack Obama a call. He is, after all, the ultimate fake pro-immigrant.