Dozens of people rallied outside city hall Wednesday morning to support a series of bills that aim to protect undocumented immigrants from being deported.
The advocates turned out in support of three bills—just hours prior to a council hearing on the legislation—that aim to restrict the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement from working with various city agencies.
The bills would restrict the city’s Department of Corrections with communicating with ICE; limit the NYPD’s ability to hold immigrants on detainers; and provide immigrants who are victims of such violations with a means to seek justice.
The bills, which were introduced last year, have the backing of Councilmembers Shahana Hanif, who chairs the council’s immigration committee, Carlina Rivera, the chair of the criminal justice committee, and Keith Powers, among others.
“I’m so proud to be working with councilmember Powers and the chair of this hearing councilmember Rivera,” Hanif said at the rally. “I know this is many months in the making, and I’m so, so thrilled to go face to face with the Department of Corrections, Department of Probation, the NYPD, and our Mayor’s office of Immigrant Affairs and asking the tough questions,” Hanif said.
“The deportation machine continues to exist,” she added, “wherein our city agencies, local authorities are continuing to work with ICE and fast tracking the federal mass deportation machine, and that is not right.”
One of the bills would restrict the DOC from communicating with ICE in most circumstances. For instance, the department would not be permitted to disclose to federal immigration officials inquiries pertaining to a person’s incarceration status, release dates and court appearances dates.
Another bill would also limit the ability of the NYPD to hold an undocumented immigrant in custody beyond the normal period– unless in clearly defined circumstances. These include federal immigration authorities presenting the department with a judicial warrant.
One advocate at the rally this morning said that the nation’s immigration laws need to change.
“We need to repeal immigration law because of the harm it causes,” said Ravi Ragbir executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City said. “We are here to fight ICE. We are here to stop ICE.”
Advocates were also critical of mayor Eric Adams.
“The way Eric Adams has handled the immigrant community in New York City has been appalling, it has been a total disaster,” said Robert Willis of Latino Justice said. “We at Latino Justice asked that Eric Adams revisit his immigration policy, the treatment of our immigrant community.”