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NYC doubles down in expanding sanctuary policies

The war of words and actions between sanctuary cities and the Trump administration continues. On April 25, a federal judge in California temporarily blocked President Trump's Jan. 25 executive order threatening to withhold federal funds from cities that refused to cooperate with immigration officials.

Elected officials in New York City heralded the decision. After all, the city was the first in the nation to enact laws in 2014 that limited cooperation with federal immigration officials in the detention of undocumented immigrants.

The next day, they decided to double down.

On April 26, three committees of the City Council held a hearing on nine bills that would expand protections for the city's undocumented immigrants. Specific legislation encompasses:

  • Extending the policy of not honoring ICE requests to the Probation Department
  • Instead of 15 days, people convicted of disorderly behavior serving no more than five days in jail, the maximum time before an arrest record disqualifies undocumented immigrants from relief allowing them to stay in the country
  • Restricting the Human Resources Administration and other city agencies from sharing personal information (address, sexual orientation, race and religion) without a subpoena

On the same day, Mayor Bill de Blasio designated $16.4 million for immigrant legal services to assist people who are being detained, children entering the country unaccompanied, and those seeking asylum.

The City Council's hearings followed an announcement this week by Brooklyn's acting district attorney, Eric Gonzalez, to seek alternative prosecutions for immigrants that would not affect their immigration status.

With changes from federal and local officials occurring on a daily basis, legal problems involving undocumented immigration requires an attorney who stays on the cutting-edge.

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