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Keeping Families Together in New York City

Immigration reform grabbed national headlines last week, as Congressional leaders and the White House released new principles for federal legislation. Alongside the possibility of citizenship for over 11 million, these principles included demands for heightened immigration enforcement and border security. The Center for Popular Democracy is working with partner organizations to ensure that cities and states push back against escalating demands for enforcement from the federal government. On January 25, the New York City Council held public hearings on two pieces of legislation that CPD developed along with Make the Road New York and the Cardozo Law School Immigrant Justice Clinic. The bills prohibit the Department of Corrections and the NYPD from honoring certain detainer requests issued by Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE), thus preventing ICE from using New York City’s criminal justice system as a platform to deport thousands of New Yorkers.

CPD’s work to organize against ICE detainers in New York has involved drafting and negotiating legislation and raising public awareness of the disastrous consequences immigration detainers have on local communities. The bills, which were developed in collaboration with the City Council, the NYPD and the Bloomberg Administration, are part of a longstanding campaign in New York City to resist the federal government’s harsh enforcement strategies and to ensure New York remains one of the country’s most immigrant-friendly cities.

New York joins dozens of cities and states across the country that are reframing the terms of the national debate on immigration away from enforcement and toward inclusion and equity. We expect both the bills to pass into law in the coming weeks.