Photo Courtesy of NYPD
“We don’t enforce the law based on people’s immigration status,” said Police Commissioner Jim O’Neill.
By Michael V. Cusenza
In an age of travel bans and highly publicized U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement actions, the City Police Department recently reiterated its immigration-related policies.
According to the Community Affairs Bureau, the NYPD “is committed to maintaining a welcoming environment for immigrant communities while also maintaining public safety for all.”
The department also indicated last week that it believes it’s important to note that:
- The NYPD accepts the city’s IDNYC as a valid and recognized form of government-issued identification including for the issuance of summonses and Desk Appearance Tickets.
- The NYPD does not inquire about the immigration status of crime victims, witnesses, or others who call or approach the police seeking assistance.
- The NYPD does not conduct civil immigration enforcement. Specifically, the department does not enforce administrative warrants issued by Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents or federal immigration judges solely in connection with civil immigration violations.
In January, President Donald Trump signed the Executive Order: “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” The presidential action bars refugees from entering the United States for the next 120 days; and precludes all immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen – from entering the U.S. for three months.
And ICE has seemingly stepped up immigration enforcement actions across the country, including in the city, fueling a heightened sense of fear and anxiety among immigrant communities, according to many alien advocates.
“We don’t enforce the law based on people’s immigration status,” said Police Commissioner Jim O’Neill, in interviews with The Wall Street Journal. “We enforce the laws based on crimes committed.”
O’Neill also told the Journal that “he was concerned that Trump’s calls for a tougher stance on illegal immigrants, a hallmark of his campaign, would keep illegal immigrants in the city from cooperating with police.”
Additionally, the commissioner and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown recently warned New Yorkers about immigration scams and reiterated that one’s immigration status should never be a deterrent from seeking assistance from law enforcement or achieving justice in Queens courts.
“We are fully committed to protecting all those who live, work and visit our community regardless of a person’s immigration status, nationality or language spoken and we will combine our efforts to vigorously prosecute anyone who targets people because of their background,” O’Neill and Brown said.