New York City has a long and proud history of welcoming immigrants. Perhaps no other American city is better known for helping immigrants make their dreams come true.
Late last year, two Staten Island members of the State Assembly sued New York City to stop it from destroying documents it had received to verify people's identities for the municipal ID program IDNYC.
The lines have been drawn. On one side is the Trump administration and its vow to cut off federal aid to cities that refuse to comply with its immigration enforcement efforts. On the other side are some of New York's biggest municipalities, vowing to fight the crackdown on "sanctuary cities."
President Donald Trump has fulfilled a promise, but the reaction is probably not what his administration hoped for. He promised early that his administration would release weekly reports on crimes by undocumented immigrants and the local police departments that had failed to turn over suspects to the federal government's Department of Homeland Security.
Instructions are straightforward: if immigration officials knock, don't open the door. If officials take you into custody, give them nothing but your name. If immigration officials ask you to sign documents, decline.
They are trying to close the windows of opportunities through which Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents might appear. They are undocumented immigrants who are quickly readjusting their lives to the new realities of enforcement.
Last week, federal immigration officials arrested more than 600 people across at least 11 states. This included detaining 40 people in the New York area, despite it being a "sanctuary city."
U.S. mayors have responded harshly to President Trump’s executive order that would penalize cities failing to assist in identifying and detaining undocumented immigrants. The order authorized the Department of Homeland Security to halt funding to areas where local law enforcement officers do not aid federal agents in identifying individuals who have not completed the immigration process. Previous to this presidential action, cooperation between police officers and ICE agents was provided voluntarily and not mandated by law.
The ACLU recently sent an open letter to the Department of Homeland Security to urge action on the inhumane detention of non-criminal immigrants, especially families. The letter, which was signed by 153 other human rights and immigrant advocacy groups, didn't ask immigration authorities to undertake some liberal plan. It simply asks the organization to follow the recommendations of experts the agency itself hired for advice on the issue.
While a chaotic presidential campaign roars along and dominates much of New York City's news coverage, important stories sometimes get overlooked. One such story unfolded over the past day or two as United Nations rights experts called on the U.S. government to end mandatory detention of migrants.