NYC cops want to help with Trump's deportation orders, union head says
Rank-and-file New York City cops are ready to assist with the federal government's expanded efforts to deport undocumented immigrants, something the city's mayor and police chief have pledged not to do, the president of the NYPD sergeants union said.
Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, took New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill to task on a Sunday radio show, blasting the pair for announcing that the city, including the New York Police Department, would not fully cooperate with the Trump administration's recent immigration policy directive.
President Donald Trump's new policies demand the deportation of any undocumented immigrant who violates a law or is charged with a crime, no matter the severity of the offense, as well as those who receive government assistance or falsify Social Security data in order to work.
In announcing its response last week, New York City officials said the city would cooperate with the new federal policies only if any of 170 crimes considered to be more serious was involved. Outside of that roster of offenses, NYPD officers have been ordered to not enforce administrative warrants from federal immigration agencies levied against those people who are inside the US illegally.
"People who are committing crimes, they don't belong in the country," Mullins said on WNYM's "The Cat's Roundtable," according to the New York Daily News.
"We can’t ignore people who commit crimes and facilitate an atmosphere of harboring them because we want to get votes in an election year. It’s just terrible to do that," Mullins said. "If you're arrested, you commit a misdemeanor, you commit felonies -- why are we going to tolerate this?"
In an internal NYPD memo, O'Neill said last week that, "regardless of their immigration status," people should be able to seek help from the NYPD without fear.
"The NYPD does not conduct civil immigration enforcement," O'Neill said in the memo. "Specifically, this department does not enforce administrative warrants issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents or federal immigration judges, solely in connection with civil immigration violations."
Reminder: NYPD will not ask about the immigration status of New Yorkers seeking help or reporting crime. Period.— City of New York (@nycgov) February 23, 2017
Mullins ripped O'Neill's bulletin, insisting that the commissioner has "a moral obligation" to "follow the direction of law." He added that many NYPD cops are ready and willing to assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents with deportation orders.
"Make no mistake about it, the members of law enforcement in the NYPD want to cooperate with ICE," Mullins said. "I speak to cops every day -- they want to cooperate with ICE, they want to work with fellow law enforcement agents."
Mullins also said if an officer or a public citizen is killed by an illegal immigrant, then "that public official that plays this game or that members of law enforcement that play this game, they better be prepared to answer for that."
De Blasio's office fired back, saying that undocumented immigrants would not cooperate with police if they think they may be deported for minor offenses.
"Neighborhood, precision and quality-of-life policing have driven crime to historic lows, not the deputizing of police officers to double as ICE agents," said Austin Finan, a spokesman for the mayor, according to the Daily News.
ICE issues a press release to let everyone know it will capture people whether NYC cooperates with detainers or not: https://t.co/TaISoPHS6S— Nick Pinto (@macfathom) February 27, 2017
A spokesman for O'Neill echoed this sentiment, saying that "Mullins could use some education about what really drives crime in New York City and how to best deal with it."
"It is the NYPD’s moral obligation to keep all New Yorkers safe," said NYPD Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis, adding that the city saw "record lows for crime" in 2016.
"This is something that we continue to focus on while building the trust of our communities, all communities," he added. "Through precision policing, the NYPD has been effectively and successfully targeting those individuals who are responsible for the major amount of violent crime throughout the city."
In its new federal immigration directive, the Trump administration said that any undocumented immigrant can be deported at any time, but said it would be prioritizing "criminal aliens," meaning those who have been charged with or convicted of a crime.
"Criminal aliens have demonstrated their disregard for the rule of law and pose a threat to persons residing in the United States. As such, criminal aliens are a priority for removal," one of the documents states.
The removals will be aided by law enforcement agencies choosing to participate in a program which would grant local officers the authority to act as immigration agents.