New York willing to send police to prison to keep illegal aliens

By Nolan Rappaport

© Getty Images

Four months ago, I posed the question, “How far will New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio go to protect undocumented aliens?” Now I am wondering how far New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo will go. And both should be wondering how far the Trump administration will go in trying to stop them.

De Blasio has kept his promise to defend undocumented immigrants in New York City against aggressive immigration enforcement measures by employing sanctuary policies that make immigration enforcement more difficult for ICE.

For instance, his sanctuary policies prohibit New York City Police Departments from complying with ICE detainer requests unless they pertain to aliens who have convictions for specified New York criminal offenses.

ICE issues detainer requests when it has probable cause to believe that an alien in police custody is deportable. The request is for the police to notify ICE when the alien is about to be released and then to hold him for up to 48 hours to allow ICE to take him into custody for removal proceedings.

ICE issued 7,526 detainers in its New York field office last year. The aliens who were the subjects of these detainers accounted for 17,873 criminal convictions, including more than 200 homicides, 500 robberies, 1,000 sexual offenses, 1,000 weapons offenses and 3,500 assaults.

Only ten of these detainer requests were honored.

One of the denied requests pertained to Reeaz Khan, a 21-year-old undocumented alien from Guyana who — after being released from police custody — has been accused of attacking Maria Fuertes, a 92-year-old woman, who was found lying on a sidewalk in the middle of the night in 32-degree weather with her clothes pulled above her waist. She was taken to a hospital, where she died from injuries that included a broken spine and rib fractures. According to law enforcement sources, she had been sexually assaulted and strangled.

Prosecutors say Khan was caught on a surveillance video approaching Fuertes from behind while she was checking a pile of garbage bags for returnable empties. According to the New York Daily News, “the video shows them then falling to the ground together, disappearing from view behind a car for four sickening minutes.” Then Khan is seen running away. When a portion of the surveillance video was released, one of the tips identifying the attacker as Khan came from his brother.

Anyone who thinks this might just be a de Blasio thing should think again.

Last June, Gov. Cuomo signed the Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act, (a.k.a. the Green Light Law), which allows undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license.

The Green Light Law may violate 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii), which provides criminal penalties for concealing, harboring, or shielding aliens in the United States illegally — and those penalties range from a fine and incarceration for not more than five years to being punished by death or imprisonment for life. The law does not specify what actions constitute “harboring,” but the most frequent characteristic the courts have used to describe it is that it makes it easier for an undocumented alien to remain in the United States, which arguably is the main objective of sanctuary policies.

Will the Trump administration resort to criminal prosecutions against state and local government officials for harboring violations to stop their sanctuary policies? Maybe.

Published originally by The Hill.
Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow him on Twitter @NolanR1 or at