The City Council is currently voting on legislation that would greatly limit the ability of the NYPD to assist the federal government in deporting people in their custody. [UPDATE: Both measures passed, 41-6.]
The two bills, sponsored by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, prevent the NYPD and the Department of Correction from detaining individuals at the request of ICE for an additional 48 hours in preparation for deportation unless a federal judge provides a warrant and the individual has been convicted of "a violent or serious crime" in the last five years.
A "violent or serious crime" is defined in the legislation as a felony.
A warrant will not be necessary in cases with individuals who have been convicted of a violent or serious crime and have been previously deported, or if the person is on the terrorist watch list.
The proposed legislation, which is expected to pass today, also prevents ICE from maintaining a physical office on Rikers Island. Hundreds of other cities and towns have passed similar laws.
Mayor de Blasio has called the measures "thoughtful and progressive," while federal officials told the Times that the detainers "ensure that dangerous criminals are not released from prisons or jails and into our communities.”
Roughly 3,000 people in New York City jails were detained pursuant to deportation from 2012 to 2013.
"For years I have witnessed ICE set up shop in our city's jails to prey on vulnerable immigrant inmates, who have served their time, and expedite them into federal detention centers. The victims are separated from their families and often times transported to states like Texas, and Louisiana, without due process of the law," Councilmember Rafael Espinal said in a statement. "I commend Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for pushing this bold and groundbreaking legislation and giving a voice to those that need it most."