A high-ranking Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official has blasted New York City laws and policies that ban the NYPD from cooperating with federal immigration personnel when it comes to deporting criminal illegal immigrants.
Kenneth Genalo, director of the ICE’s New York City field office, said that the New York’s progressive rules were partly to blame for several illegal immigrants being able to remain in the country after they were charged with violently beating up two NYPD police officers in Times Square last week. The ugly incident, along with a viral video of one of the immigrants giving the middle finger after being released, sparked widespread condemnation.
Genalo slammed the rules at a press conference in Times Square on Monday, when he and a group of bipartisan city lawmakers called on the city to reverse the policies so migrants accused of crimes can be easily deported.
A 2014 City Council law signed by former Mayor Bill de Blasio limited the city’s cooperation with ICE “detainers,” except in certain cases presenting a public safety risk. ICE detainers call on local law enforcement to notify the immigration enforcement agency when non-citizens are arrested on criminal charges.
“We want to help. The problem is, due to city policies and state law, cooperation is no longer afforded between NYPD and ICE,” Genalo said, according to the New York Post.
“There’s hundreds of people a week that are being arrested throughout the city and we can’t determine which are the most violent.”
Genalo said that ICE used to have a unit stationed in the city’s prison at Rikers Island, but de Blasio gave that team the boot, meaning the agency finds out about migrants being arrested via the press. The NYPD is also forbidden from revealing a suspect’s immigration status to the media.
“We used to have a unit that sat in Riker’s Island that worked hand-in-hand with NYPD. The prior administration at the time kicked the unit out of Riker’s Island so we no longer have a presence there,” Genalo said.
“Basically, anyone that was foreign-born was vetted by my staff, the immigration officers, to determine whether or not they were amenable to removal proceedings. If they were, we took custody of them and we placed them in removal proceedings. Unfortunately, a lot of the way that we have to do our intelligence at ICE is the same way you find out about cases, through the media.”
Genalo was joined at the press briefing by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., along with Republican Council Members David Carr and Joseph Borelli, as well as Democrat City Council Member Robert Holden, who called on lawmakers to resume cooperation with ICE.
Malliotakis blasted the city for not cooperating with ICE.
“We need to have the back of our police officers, we need to keep our city safe, and we need to deport individuals who are here, and are committing crimes against our citizenry,” Malliotakis said, according to Politico.
“This past fiscal year, ICE issued 109 detainer requests for individuals who are dangerous, that committed crimes in our city, and zero have been honored by the City of New York. The previous fiscal year, ’22, 157 detainer requests, and again, zero were honored by the City of New York,” Malliotakis said.
“And the number of detainer requests have gone down significantly under the Biden administration. At the end of the Trump administration, in the fiscal year ’21, there were 1485 detainer requests. And again, zero were honored by the City of New York.”
Several of the illegal immigrants suspected of beating the New York City police officers were arrested in Phoenix, Fox News confirmed Monday night. At least four had fled the state after being released last week.
Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, last week called on the alleged migrants to be rounded up and deported.
Hochul said at a news conference Friday that she wanted to speak with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg about why most of the suspects were released without bail. She said prosecutors should have sought to keep them behind bars.
Bragg has impaneled a grand jury that will begin meeting on the case. He was seen entering his office this morning at around 11:15 a.m.