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Bill Limits Reach of Federal Immigration Authorities in City Jails

Protestors against CAP at City Hall

Protestors against the cooperation between local jails and ICE at City Hall. (Photo: Mirela Iverac/WNYC)

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By Mirela Iverac

NEW YORK—A new bill that would limit the cooperation between local jails and federal immigration enforcement was introduced in the City Council on Wednesday.

The bill would prevent immigrants without a criminal record and who are not convicted in their current case from being on immigration detainers.

“What this basically says is that we will not allow city resources to be used to deport New York City residents who have never been convicted of a crime,” said Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, one of lead sponsor of the bill, at a press conference on the steps of City Hall. “We will not be complicit in facilitating a broken immigration system.”

Information about prisoners at Rikers is often shared with federal immigration authorities under an initiative known as the Criminal Alien Program. Agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that are stationed at Rikers can interview foreign-born inmates and decide whether they want to place the inmate on an immigration hold or detainer.

If a detainer is lodged against an inmate, DOC will hold him for an extra 48 hours at Rikers after his case is closed to give ICE an opportunity to assume custody of the individual.

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