BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
A piece of legislation that would force New York City to shed its sanctuary jurisdiction protections passed in the House of Representatives and awaits the Senate’s vote.
The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, which would ultimately force sanctuary jurisdictions to abide by immigration policies of Donald Trump’s administration by withholding federal funding and enforcing other restrictions, was passed by the House last Thursday.
U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) said that the bill poses a threat to the five boroughs as it scares immigrant communities and prevents them from complying to help law enforcement do its job.
“In order for law enforcement to do its job, they must create an environment of trust,” Crowley told the Queens Tribune. “Fighting crime consists of information gathering and we need people working in cooperation with our police department. If an individual feels that if they cooperate and bring evidence to police, that they can be subject to deportation, then they are not going to cooperate or help the society.”
Crowley said that the legislation creates a counterproductive environment. People would not be sure if police officers are acting on behalf of city law enforcement or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), he added.
“We know of an incident where ICE has gone after known criminals, but non-criminals have been swept up as well, finding themselves in deportation proceedings,” Crowley said.
The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act would also require compliance with all forms of immigration enforcement, restrict funding for the Department of Homeless Services and Department of Justice in sanctuary jurisdictions, expand ICE detainer authority, expand mandatory detention, and overrule a Ninth Circuit holding by authorizing indefinite detention of such persons while they are in removal proceedings.
“The Republicans’ attacks against sanctuary cities would put Americans at risk by withholding federal funding from cities like New York City to combat terrorism,” said Crowley. “These bills would also only further codify the dangerous and hateful rhetoric we’ve seen coming from President Trump’s administration. We must stand against policies that unfairly demonize our immigrant communities and instead focus on continuing the American tradition of welcoming those who come to our country to improve their lives and contribute to our communities.”
This past week, Queens resident Carlos Humberto Cardona faced deportation after living in the United States for approximately three decades. He was a cleanup worker at the World Trade Center following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
“This issue is larger than just Mr. Cardona,” said Crowley. “This is about expressing our sense—as a nation—that we do not and cannot accept President Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies as our own. Deporting Mr. Cardona would send a message to the immigrants who call our country home that even if they serve our country during its darkest days, we will not welcome them in our communities.”
Crowley said that if the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act becomes law, cases similar to Cardona’s would be more widespread.
There is currently no date set for the Senate’s vote on the bill.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144 or firstname.lastname@example.org