As President Obama vowed to move ahead on immigration reform by executive order, Mayor de Blasio signed two bills that would drastically limit the federal government’s ability to deport the undocumented from New York City. Under one of the new laws, the city will in many cases refuse to hand over immigrants in the criminal justice system to federal agents.
In the past, the city sometimes had to turn over people whose cases had been dismissed or who had been arrested on minor charges. Now, the city will only cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement if the agency has a federal warrant, or if the person has been convicted of a serious crime or is on a terror watch list.
Another bill boots ICE from its offices on Rikers Island.
“We’re signing legislation that will have a really meaningful effect on the lives of immigrants,” said de Blasio.
By de Blasio’s side as he signed the bills at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Corona, Queens, was Carlos Rodriguez, who was mistakenly arrested for trespassing and detained by the feds for eight months even though the charges were dropped.
He is still fighting deportation to the Dominican Republic.
“Even though it doesn’t help me right now, I know it helps somebody else out there,” he said.