Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed two laws which markedly reduce the City’s cooperation with the federal government’s efforts at deporting people unlawfully in the United States. At a ceremony on the steps of Our Lady of Sorrows in Corona, the mayor signed bills which prohibit the presence of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency at Rikers Island and other City facilities and which provide that the City corrections and police departments “will no longer honor requests by ICE to detain an individual for up to 48 hours beyond their scheduled release unless (1) ICE provides a judicial warrant as to probable cause, and (2) the individual in question has been convicted of a violent or serious felony within the last five years, or is a possible match on the terrorist watch list.”
Following opening remarks and a signing ceremony, the mayor answered questions from the press. On-topic questions included the timing of the effectiveness of the laws signed today and when ICE will close it’s office on Rikers Island, how many people currently on Rikers Island will be covered by these laws, details of Carlos Rodriguez (who was held on Rikers Island for eight months on an ICE detainer) path to this country and his thoughts during his eight month detention, what Mayor de Blasio would like to see the federal government do about immigration and what he will do absent such action, what he would tell Republicans who think his approach is a dangerous precedent, de Blasio and Melissa Mark-Viverito’s positions on municipal IDs and voting rights for non-citizens, the number of people arrested on misdemeanors and then subject to ICE detainers and whether persons arrested on felony charges must first go through the justice system before being subject to an ICE detainer.
Off-topic questions included efforts at combating sex trafficking on Roosevelt Avenue, reports of criminal charges against a defunct arm of the Working Families Party, whether the mayor will veto proposed bills criminalizing police use of chokeholds and requiring police to advise people of a right to refuse before asking to search them, whether the mayor plans to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when they visit New York, whether his message is getting lost in critical news coverage and his view of the Astoria Cove development deal.