Council will also vote on legislation relating to posting of penalties for assaulting taxi drivers
City Hall – Today the City Council will vote on groundbreaking legislation to limit the NYPD and DOC’s honoring of ICE detainers. The Council will also vote on legislation requiring that Taxi and Livery vehicles post warnings of the criminal penalty for assaulting a driver. Additionally, the Council will vote on a bill requiring the Department of Education to report information regarding guidance counselors and social workers in schools.
The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (“ICE”) files an “immigration detainer” with the Department of Correction (“DOC”) or with the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) when they believe an individual in DOC or NYPD custody is subject to removal from this country. In filing such immigration detainer, ICE makes a request that the agency detain the individual for up to 48 hours beyond when they would otherwise be released, so that custody of the individual may be transferred to ICE. Recently, a number of courts have decided that local authorities do not need to comply with ICE detainer requests, and that honoring such requests without an underlying finding of probable cause may raise civil rights concerns.
Under Introductions 486-A and 487-A, sponsored by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the NYPD and DOC may no longer honor detainer requests issued by ICE unless they are backed up by a warrant issued by a federal judge. If ICE provides a judicial warrant then the NYPD and DOC may only honor a detainer request if the subject was convicted within the last five years of a violent or serious crime as defined in the bill or is found to be a possible match on the terrorist watch list. The proposed legislation creates a minor exception, allowing the NYPD to honor detainer requests that are not accompanied by a judicial warrant if the subject was ever convicted of a serious or violent crime and has been previously physically deported, or if the subject is a possible match on the terrorist watch list.
Further, the bill would prohibit DOC from allowing ICE to maintain an office on Rikers Island or any other DOC property. It would also restrict DOC personnel from communicating with ICE regarding information that is unrelated to an inmate’s immigration status such as a release date, incarceration status, court dates, or any other information about the inmate, unless the inmate is the subject of a detainer request that DOC may honor pursuant to the law, or unless the communication is unrelated to immigration enforcement.
This bill would go into effect 30 days after it becomes law, except for the provisions regarding ICE using DOC land and DOC communications with ICE, which take effect 90 days after those provisions become law.
“These bills are about keeping New York families together and sending a clear message that New York is not afraid to lead on immigration,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “New York is a city that respects the constitutional rights and dignity of all residents. We also have no reason to expend scarce resources assisting in the enforcing broken immigration laws.”
“The passage of these detainer discretion bills marks a historic moment for the City Council, and I commend Speaker Mark-Viverito for her leadership on this issue,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. “As Chair of the Committee on Immigration, I am committed to looking holistically at how our immigrant communities access justice. This legislation will remove Immigration and Customs Enforcement from Rikers Island, and ensure that we protect the most basic legal rights of those immigrants interacting with our criminal justice system.”
“Today we are taking the lead on a national human rights issue. For years I have witnessed ICE set up shop in our city’s jails to prey on vulnerable immigrant inmates, who have served their time, and expedite them into federal detention centers. The victims are separated from their families and often times transported to states like Texas, and Louisiana, without due process of the law,” stated Council Member Rafael Espinal. “I commend Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for pushing this bold and groundbreaking legislation and giving a voice to those that need it most. It is my hope that this will serve as a model for other municipalities throughout the country that are also struggling to keep ICE from targeting its most vulnerable residents.”
“ICE divides families and their trailer should be taken off Riker’s Island,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “It is not the job of the Correction Department or the NYPD to detain undocumented individuals who have been arrested and present no threat of violence. Most of the individuals who are brought to Rikers will never be convicted of a crime. Our legislation will protect our immigrant communities by further defining our city’s relationship with ICE. I commend Speaker Mark-Viverito, Immigration Committee Chairperson Menchaca and my fellow colleagues for their work on this issue.
“Today the City Council has shown that they value immigrant families and the safety of immigrant communities. Thanks to the Speaker’s leadership, what has been a goal for years is on the verge of becoming a reality—ending ICE’s presence on Rikers Island and stopping NYC’s collaboration with an unjust federal deportation system,” said Javier Valdes, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York. “This bill will protect thousands of families, save the city money and improve trust. We thank Councilmembers Menchaca, Dromm and Espinal for their support, and we look forward to Mayor de Blasio’s signing this into law shortly.”
“Our city is a trailblazer in protecting immigrants from detention and deportation, and this new law introduced by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is the latest example of that leadership,” said Ana Maria Archila, Co-Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy. “Drawing a bold line between local law enforcement and the enforcement of unjust and ineffective federal immigration policies is the only way to keep NYC’s communities safe and our families together.”
“The bills are the result of tireless efforts, commitment, and collaboration of Speaker Mark-Viverito, Mayor de Blasio, New York City council members, and community based organizations, who came together to craft legislation that will protect New Yorkers from federal immigration authorities’ intrusion into their lives, promote public safety, and ensure respect for New Yorkers’ constitutional rights,” saidGlykeria Tsiokanou from the Immigration Justice Clinic at Cardozo School of Law.
“Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, have demonstrated tremendous leadership and a strong commitment to immigrants by introducing and passing legislation that limits NYC’s collaboration with our highly arbitrary and dysfunctional deportation apparatus. The passage of this new and expanded detainer bill will ensure that due process protections for immigrants are guaranteed and that thousands of families in NYC will remain intact,” said Angela Fernandez, Esq., Executive Director of Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights.
“The Legal Aid Society applauds the City Council under the leadership of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and guidance of Councilmember Carlos Menchaca and Councilmember Daniel Dromm for taking such a meaningful step towards protecting the due process rights of immigrant New Yorkers. The past practice of detaining people in violation of their Fourth Amendment rights without a federal judicial warrant created devastating effects for hard working immigrants and their families,” said Tina Luongo of New York’s Legal Aid Society. “We look forward to this monumental shift in protecting New Yorkers.”
“This is a tremendous step toward greater protections for New York’s immigrant families,” said Lisa Schreibersdorf, Brooklyn Defender Services’ Executive Director. “Federal enforcement and detention practices have been tearing families apart without due process of law. Thankfully, our City Council has shown that New York City cares about our immigrant families and will step in to protect them against an overly harsh deportation climate.”
“In passing these bills, Speaker Mark-Viverito and the New York City Council are protecting thousands of our city’s residents from mass deportation programs that tear apart families, waste local resources, erode public safety, and deny equal justice and due process to all New Yorkers,” said Alisa Wellek, Co-Executive Director of the Immigrant Defense Project. “This is an important victory for cities and states everywhere that are standing up to these brutal and unconstitutional deportation programs.”
Posting Penalties for Assaulting Taxi and Livery Drivers
Taxi and livery drivers are at a much higher risk of experiencing physical violence on the job than other workers—so far in 2014, more than 40 drivers have been assaulted. Introduction 82-A, sponsored by Council Member Rory Lancman, would require owners of taxis, livery vehicles, commuter vans, and wheelchair accessible vans to post a sign in the passenger compartment of the vehicle stating that assaulting a driver is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 25 years. The Taxi and Limousine Commission would promulgate rules regarding the size, number, and placement of the signs, as well as penalties for the failure to post.
“Taxi and livery drivers make our economy move, yet they risk their lives each and every time they pick up a fare,” said Council Member Rory Lancman. “Drivers need to know that we take their safety seriously, and every person stepping into a taxi or livery cab needs to know that assaulting the driver will have serious consequences. I want to thank my colleagues, particularly Transportation Committee chair Ydanis Rodrigues and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, for shepherding this legislation through to passage.”
Department of Education Reporting Requirements
Guidance counselors and social workers provide extremely important services in schools. However, there is no mechanism for the Council and the public to have specific information regarding guidance counselors and social workers and schools.
Introduction 403-A, sponsored by Council Member Antonio Reynoso, would require the Department of Education (DOE) to produce an annual report to be submitted to the Council and posted on the DOE’s website regarding the number of guidance counselors and social workers for each school year. This bill would require the annual report to include for each school the number of full and part-time guidance counselors and social workers, the guidance counselor and social worker to student ratio, whether the guidance counselor or social worker is providing counseling assistance to more than one school, the number of guidance counselors and social workers who provide counseling services as mandated by an Individualized Education Program (IEP), the number of staff who received professional development or training in college readiness, and the number of licensed and certified bilingual guidance counselors and social workers.
Introduction 403-A would also require the report to include the number of guidance counselors and social workers in the absent teacher reserve pool for grades seven through twelve, and information regarding any guidance memorandums issued by the DOE regarding college preparedness. The bill would also require the report to include demographic information for students in each school, including race, ethnicity, English language learner status, special education status, and the percentage of students eligible for free and reduced price lunch. The legislation would take effect immediately upon enactment.
“Guidance counselors provide a number of valuable services, including ensuring that students are ready for college,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “However, studies have shown that the ratio of students to counselors in the majority of NYC high schools is so high that the counselors are unable to effectively provide students, especially those who are struggling, with the individualized attention and services that they need. When I was in school, I was lucky enough to have a guidance counselor who was able to give me lots of attention, and it helped me get where I am today. I want my experience to become the norm for all NYC students. This bill will help us to analyze the data so we can take steps toward regulating the system such that all students are receiving the counseling services they need to help them succeed.”