Police Commissioner James O’Neill sharply defied President Trump’s immigrant deportation policies, on Wednesday. O’ Neill held his ground in asserting that his officers will not enforce administrative warrants issued by federal immigration officials. As reported by the NY Daily News, in a 431- word internal memo directed to the NYPD’s police officers, O’ Neill wrote, “The NYPD does not conduct civil immigration enforcement. Specifically, this department does not enforce administrative warrants issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents or federal immigration judges solely in connection with civil immigration violations.
For example, the NYPD does not arrest or detain individuals for immigration violations such as overstaying a lawfully issued visa. However, the NYPD does and will continue to honor federal immigration detainers when there is a risk to public safety.” In the memo, O’Neill went on to explain, “It is critical that everyone who comes into contact with the NYPD, regardless of their immigration status, be able to identify themselves or seek assistance without hesitation, anxiety or fear.” He also reiterated that the department still “accepts the city’s IDNYC as a valid and recognized form of government-issued identification”.
The memo was in stark contrast to Homeland Security Secretary, John Kelly’s order only the day before, to deport any undocumented immigrants, if they were ever convicted or even charged with a criminal offense, if they “have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits,” or “have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter before a governmental agency.”
According to Kelley’s directive, undocumented immigrants can be deported for having committed even minor traffic violations, having received any form of government assistance or having used fake Social Security numbers to land a job. The government, along with several independent organizations, has estimated that roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants currently reside in the United States. City officials have already been warned by Trump’s administration that “sanctuary cities” like New York, will be penalized with a cut in their federal funding.
By Ilana Siyance