New York congresswoman blasts release of migrant squatters

Federal immigration officials arrested three Venezuelan migrants in Wednesday's raid, all of whom are facing deportation proceedings.
Police arrest, New York City, March 25, 2023

(The Center Square) — A Republican congresswoman is ratcheting up criticism of New York City's sanctuary policies after federal immigration authorities arrested several migrant "squatters" accused of crimes who were previously released on bail.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it took into custody three Venezuelan migrants who were among eight squatters arrested by New York City police on Wednesday in a sweep of a Bronx home.

Most of the suspects were men, some of whom were found with guns and drugs. All of them were previously apprehended at the Texas border with Mexico and released into the U.S., according to an ICE spokesperson. One had been previously arrested on murder in Yonkers, the agency said.

But Rep. Nicole Malliokais, a Staten Island Republican, seized on the arrests to blast the city and state's "pro-criminal, open-border and sanctuary policies" that allowed the release of the suspects on bail before they were taken into custody by ICE agents.

"Despite our calls for the city council and mayor to restore cooperation with federal immigration officials, rogue prosecutors and far-left judges continue to release criminals residing in our country illegally back onto the street to the detriment of our community and citizens," she said in a statement.

Malliokais aimed the state's bail laws, which she said allows criminals "to commit crimes with no consequence," and New York City's "sanctuary" policy that "prohibits the NYPD from turning these criminals over to ICE, even when there is a detainer request."

"Instead of working with federal officials to arrest, detain and immediately deport thugs wreaking havoc in our city, progressive politicians have tied the hands of our NYPD to the benefit of criminals, and are allowing them to remain here in luxury hotel rooms with five-star service on the taxpayers' dime," she said.

Federal immigration officials arrested three Venezuelan migrants in Wednesday's raid, all of whom are facing deportation proceedings. Four other migrants were in police custody on federal immigration detainers, ICE officials said.

Last year, ICE issued 109 detainer requests to the NYPD, none of which were honored due to local laws passed under the de Blasio Administration dramatically limiting New York City's cooperation with federal immigration officials, according to Malliokais' office.

Concerns about migrants committing violent crimes have become a key issue in November’s presidential election, with Republicans arguing that a surge of immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border is contributing to a rise in violent crime. Many argue that New York and other states with "sanctuary" policies are making matters worse.

Former President Donald Trump has ramped up criticism of the border crisis as he seeks the White House a third time.

Democrats have accused Trump of stoking anti-immigrant sentiments and argue that migrants aren't committing crimes at a greater rate than U.S. citizens.