From [HERE] The NYPD alerts federal immigration agents to the Criminal Court appearances of non-white immigrants facing deportation, the Daily News has learned.
As a “sanctuary city,” the city currently only complies with Immigration and Customs Enforcement “detainer” orders to hold a defendant until federal agents can take custody in cases involving violent or serious felonies.
But in the process of verifying warrants against a defendant, officials said the NYPD will contact relevant law enforcement, including ICE, thereby alerting the agency to an immigrant’s upcoming appearance in a city courtroom.
Advocates slammed the practice, saying it amounts to “collusion” with immigration officials that goes against the spirit of Mayor de Blasio’s pledge that the city will remain a sanctuary city.
Public defenders representing two men in ICE’s cross hairs during separate court appearances in Queens told The News they were stunned to learn the NYPD communicated with the federal agency about both men before they appeared before a judge.
On March 2, an NYPD administrative aide noted in the Central Booking system that he had “notified ICE” about the arrest of David Gonzalez, 51, screenshots obtained by The News show. The deported felon had reentered the U.S. and faced misdemeanor charges of allegedly rubbing against a woman on the No. 7 train.
On March 15, the same administrative aide noted he was “awaiting call from local ICE office” regarding Milton Chimborazo, 35, who faced burglary charges. He had a standing deportation order.
In both cases, screenshots show the city did not comply with ICE “detainer” orders. Instead, immigration agents just showed up to court.
ICE took Gonzalez into custody after a judge released him. He was awaiting deportation last week. ICE inquired about Chimborazo but chose not to arrest him for reasons that are unclear.
“I think it really is outrageous,” said Lori Zeno, co-founder and deputy director of Queens Law Associates. “We’re supposed to be a sanctuary city. What does it mean if our own court system is participating in turning folks in to ICE?”
Mayoral spokesman Austin Finan did not dispute that ICE and the NYPD regularly communicate. “NYPD notifies and confirms with all inquiring and arresting agencies the status of an arrestee who may be the subject of a warrant,” he said, adding that the communication did not mean the department honors detainers.
But Justine Olderman, managing director of Bronx Defenders, said the system alerts ICE to people it is seeking.
De Blasio has touted a law signed in 2014 that drastically reduced the city’s cooperation with ICE. It declared the city would not comply with ICE detainer orders — except those who have been convicted of “violent or serious felonies.”
The law created a protocol that predates President Trump’s administration. Trump has followed through on his campaign pledge to intensify immigration enforcement.
The NYPD’s top spokesman, Stephen Davis, said Chimborazo’s and Gonzalez’s cases were handled properly.
“Nothing was compromised in terms of the policies of the department. These guys didn’t suffer any consequence,” Davis said.
NYPD officials noted ICE also has access to arrest information on its own.
But advocates said de Blasio could do more to stymie immigration agents.
“The mayor can issue a command to the Police Department that they shouldn’t be calling ICE,” Zeno said. “Cooperating with ICE is one thing ... But to me they seem to be in collusion with ICE.”
City Hall was reviewing all local laws and policies pertaining to ICE amid a growing debate about the agency’s impact in city courthouses. “We recognize that the court is designed to be a neutral venue0,” Finan said.
ICE did not respond to a request for comment.
Chimborazo’s roommate said he had not seen him since his court appearance.