New York City Mayor Eric Adams defended the city’s sanctuary status amid calls to reform the policy amid a pattern of crimes committed by illegal immigrants.
Amid what New York City police officials say is a “wave of migrant crime” washing over the Big Apple, Mayor Eric Adams insists on maintaining New York’s sanctuary city status despite calls to change the policy to make it easier to deport criminal aliens.
During a Feb. 6 session of the New York State Assembly in Albany, Mr. Adams was asked by State Sen. George Borrello, a Republican, about whether he thinks that, amid the crime spree involving illegal immigrant suspects, New York should remain a sanctuary city.
“Yes, I do,” Mr. Adams replied. “I think that being a sanctuary city is the origin of all of us. ‘
“All of us came from some level of immigration,” he continued. “But I think that those who come here and abuse our good nature, they need to be dealt with on a federal level.”
Mr. Adams’ remarks come amid calls to reverse New York’s sanctuary city status following several high-profile crimes allegedly committed by illegal immigrants, including a mob beating of two police officers in Times Square and moped-riding illegal immigrants accused of being part of a cellphone robbery ring.
The pattern of crimes committed by illegal immigrants in New York City has led to calls for swift deportation, along with calls to remove barriers to their removal from the country.
Sanctuary City Laws in Focus
Kenneth Genalo, the field office director at the New York office of U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), told a Feb. 5 press conference that New York City’s strict sanctuary status policies are partly to blame for the inability of ICE agents to stop illegal immigrants accused of violent crimes from fleeing the state.
Mr. Genalo was joined at Monday’s press conference by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island), who demanded that New York City undo sanctuary city laws dating back to 2014 that prevent federal agents from deporting illegal immigrants convicted of crimes.
“This past fiscal year, ICE issued 109 detainer requests for individuals who are dangerous, that committed crimes in our city, and zero, zero have been honored by the city of New York,” Ms. Malliotakis said, per CBS.
Mr. Genalo said at Monday’s press conference that, given the sanctuary city policies and the fact that police officers don’t have to honor detainer requests, ICE is forced to search for arrested illegal immigrants once they’re back in the community.
At the Feb. 6 session of the New York State Assembly in Albany, Mr. Adams was asked whether he would support an executive order allowing the NYPD to work with ICE.
The mayor told CBS that, under current law, he cannot use city resources to deport criminal aliens but that he thinks the question of reviewing related legislation should be presented to the City Council for review.
“My advice to them is that we should never do anything that will allow dangerous people to stay on our streets,” Mr. Adams said, adding, “I think there’s a different view by some in the city and some in the City Council.”
A City Council spokesperson expressed support for current laws, telling CBS that they’re meant to ensure that immigrant communities “are not deterred from seeking help or reporting crimes to city officials out of fear of deportation because of their immigration status.
Over 173,000 illegal immigrants have come through New York City since spring 2022, Mr. Adams revealed on Tuesday, adding that 66,000 remain.
At the same time, Mr. Adams said he thinks the vast majority of illegal immigrants in New York City aren’t committing crimes.
Seven illegal immigrants were arrested on Monday, with some in an NYPD raid in the Bronx that targeted members of a criminal ring stealing cell phones.
“These thieves would ride up behind their victims on the sidewalk, steal their property and then make their getaway,” he said.
So far, he revealed, there have been 62 such incidents.
“During our investigation, we learned that these perpetrators are part of a sophisticated criminal enterprise made up of migrants who have recently arrived in the United States,” Mr. Kenny said. “This network of these predominantly live in the migrant shelter system.”
New York City police commissioner Edward Caban, who described the robbery pattern as a “wave of migrant crime,” said during the press conference that the illegal immigrants committing crimes don’t represent “the vast number of people coming to New York to build a better life.”
“But they are, nonetheless, preying on New Yorkers and making our city less safe,” he continued, comparing the challenges law enforcement faces with identifying and tracking illegal immigrants to difficulties tracing “ghost guns.”
“Today, we are seeing similar situations with migrants. They’re essentially ghost criminals: no criminal history, no photos, no cell phone, no social media. Sometimes, we’re even unclear on a name or a date of birth. And on top of that, these operations are extremely sophisticated. They intentionally try to evade the police,” Mr. Caban said.
The investigation into the Jan. 27 mob beating of NYPD officers remains ongoing.
Six individuals were arrested and charged in connection with the incident, but most were released without bail: Yorman Reveron (24), Darwin Andres Gomez-Izquiel (19), Wilson Juarez (21), Kelvin Servita Arocha (19), Jhoan Boada (22), and Yohenry Brito (24).
The release of all but one of the suspects without bail was met with criticism.
Katabella Roberts contributed to this report.