Ward Oliver, Supervising Attorney in the Immigration Law Unit at The Legal Aid Society, issued the following statement today in response to new statistics released by the New York Police Department (NYPD) on the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019:
“We are pleased to see that the NYPD is following the New York City detainer law, which is intended to limit the circumstances under which our local law enforcement honors an ICE detainer or otherwise cooperates with federal immigration authorities. It is patently illegal for local law enforcement to hold an individual because of an ICE detainer. These detainers lead to the detention of thousands of people each year without probable cause, without judicial approval, and without basic due process protections.
However, in order to fulfill our commitment as a Sanctuary City, we must close the gaping loophole in the City’s detainer law, which permits the City to cooperate with ICE and honor detainer requests if an individual has certain prior criminal convictions. We must also pass statewide legislation, namely the Protect Our Courts Act, which would keep ICE agents from using our local courts to trap immigrants seeking to vindicate their rights.
As the Trump Administration escalates its unprecedented attack on immigrants across the nation, we call on our leaders in state and local government to take these meaningful steps to ensure that thriving communities remain safe and strong.”