New York Police Department Commissioner James O’Neill on Wednesday indicated that the department will ignore new Department of Homeland Security memos that increase the number of undocumented immigrants prioritized for deportation and call on local law enforcement to help federal agents.
In an internal memo, O’Neill reminded officers of the department’s policies on undocumented immigrants and tells officers not to carry out federal immigration enforcement.
“It is critical that everyone who comes into contact with the NYPD, regardless of their immigration status, be able to identify themselves or seek assistance without hesitation, anxiety or fear. It is part of our larger mission to forge public trust with all the communities we serve,” he wrote in the memo to officers, first reported by the New York Daily News and confirmed by TPM.
“It is our city’s resolve to remain a safe and welcoming place for all immigrants. And it is incumbent upon the men and women of the NYPD to maintain the trust and confidence of all who depend on the services of our police department for their safety,” the memo continued.
O’Neill told officers not to inquire about the legal status of any victim or witness, nor enforce “administrative warrants issued by Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents or federal immigration judges solely in connection with civil immigration violations.”
He added that the NYPD would still help out with federal immigration detainers where the person is a public safety threat.
The DHS memos do not require local law enforcement to partner with federal agents on deportation efforts, but encourage state and local authorities to do so.
Democratic Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy also issued memos this week to local law enforcement and schools that urged them not to comply with the new guidance from the Trump administration.
In a memo to local law enforcement, Malloy reminded them that they are not required to enforce federal immigration law, and urged local police not to partner with federal immigration agents. He also noted that detainers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement are requests, not orders, and that officers are only compelled to comply with a judicial warrant for an undocumented immigrant’s arrest.
In a letter to schools, Malloy urged administrators to “consider having a plan in place in the event that ICE agents come to one of your schools requesting information about or access to a student.” He instructed schools to contact an attorney before cooperating with an ICE agent, as well as to deny entry to any agent who does not have a warrant. Malloy also warned that not all warrants actually give federal agents the authority to ask about or detain a student.