New York City’s sanctuary status blasted amid rise in migrant crimes

The officials cited data showing that ICE issued 109 detainer requests to the NYPD last year, all of which were not honored due to laws preventing them from cooperating with federal immigration enforcement activities.

Published: February 6, 2024 11:00pm

(The Center Square) -

(The Center Square) — A high-ranking federal immigration official is among those urging New York City to lift its sanctuary policy, saying it prevents the NYPD from cooperating with federal authorities to apprehend migrants suspected of violent crimes.

Speaking at a rally with New York elected officials on Monday, New York City field office director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement Kenneth Genalo said city and state policies restricting cooperation with federal immigration officials prevent ICE from doing its job. As a result, ICE agents often have to rely on the media for information about potential suspects.

"We're no longer contacted, we're no longer called, and we have to check our databases, but obviously there's hundreds of people a week that are being arrested throughout the city," Genalo said in remarks. "If we can't determine which one is being the most violent, we have to find out through the media, through the newspapers, through the acts of television outlets."

Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis, one of several New York City officials who spoke at Monday's rally, said recent crimes involving migrants — including the beating of two NYPD officers by a group of migrants — are fueling demands from the public that the city ease its sanctuary policy.

"Despite the city's attempts to play semantics, the reality is they're refusing to cooperate with federal detainer and deportation requests with administrative warrants from ICE, even as hundreds of migrants continue to be arrested for murder, stabbings, robberies, and assault across the city," she said.

Malliotakis said, "Thugs who pay the cartels thousands of dollars to be smuggled into our country and then proceed to commit crimes in our city should be arrested, detained, and deported immediately and have any future immigration applications denied."

"Instead, thanks to New York’s ridiculous policies, they are wreaking havoc on our city, being arrested and released, only to return to the comfort of their luxury hotel rooms at taxpayer expense," she said. "It’s ludicrous."

New York City Councilman Bob Holden, a Democrat and co-chair of the Common-Sense Caucus, said the city's sanctuary policies are "protecting criminals" at the expense of New Yorkers.

"When you have police officers attacked, you have citizens attacked on a regular basis, do we need more criminals? We have to import them, then protect them? That's ridiculous," he said in remarks on Monday. "It needs to stop."

The officials cited data showing that ICE issued 109 detainer requests to the NYPD last year, all of which were not honored due to laws preventing them from cooperating with federal immigration enforcement activities.

Genalo said because the detainers are not being honored, the subjects are returned "directly back into the community," and that is contributing to recidivism by the migrant population.

"Obviously, once they're back in the community, we have to then go look for them," he said. "The public safety factor for the community increases, but on top of it - also for my staff and my offices. Instead of being able to take custody of these individuals in the confines of a jail or a precinct, we now have to go out into the community - in the streets - where the criminals have the upper hand."

Following Monday's briefing, NYPD officials announced that they had arrested mostly Venezuelan migrants in connection with a citywide crime spree. The suspects, all men, were linked to 62 incidents of women having their pocketbooks and phones stolen on the street, the NYPD said.

"Most migrants come to NYC in search of a better life. Sadly, some come to commit crime," NYPD Assistant Commissioner Kaz Daughtry posted on social media. "Today we made tremendous progress in the largest robbery pattern plaguing our city. Our message is simple -- commit a crime in our city and we will find you and bring you to justice!"

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