The City Council passed a bill Wednesday that would prevent the city’s Police Department from turning over immigrants charged with petty crimes over to federal authorities, the Daily News reported.
The bill’s aim is to prevent immigrants who commit low-level crimes from being deported. The federal government’s Securities Communities program requires local police officers to send the fingerprints of persons in custody to officials at the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo had previously attempted, but failed, to withdraw New York from the federal program.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said the bill would prevent immigrants from being “needlessly deported.”
“Immigrants without criminal records and those who do not through any legitimate evidence appear to pose a threat to public safety are being needlessly deported, unnecessarily damaging families and communities, unnecessarily tearing communities apart,” she told the Daily News.
ICE Spokesman Ross Feinstein told the paper that cities not cooperating fully with the program risk public safety.
Northeast Queens Councilman Dan Halloran, R-Whitestone, said he voted against the City Council measure.
“If you cannot abide by laws, you do not belong here,” he told the Daily News.