New York’s Irish American police chief James O’Neill has told his officers not to cooperate with President Trump deportation orders.
It means the NYPD won’t take part in operations to round up illegal immigrants as happened recently in Los Angeles.
Police Commissioner O’Neill sent memo to NYPD officers, saying the department doesn’t take part in deportation exercises and ordering them not to comply with any such requests.
The memo, quoted by CBS2 News, said: “The NYPD does not conduct civil immigration enforcement. Specifically, this department does not enforce administrative warrants issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents or federal immigration judges, solely in connection with civil immigration violations.
“For example, the NYPD does not arrest or detain individuals for immigration violations such as overstaying a lawfully issued visa.”
A spokesman for the NYPD added that the memo from O’Neill was simply reiterating police policy that has been in effect since New York mayor Bill de Blasio took office. This meant that they police would honour federal warrants where there was a risk to public safety, they would not do so merely for immigration violations. Last year, NYPD only handed over 2 out of 72 illegal immigrants sought by the federal authorities.
However, security expert Manny Gomez, who is a former police officer and FBI agent, said O’Neill was wrong to effectively “handcuff” his officers.
He told CBS: “It’s not fair to the cops and it’s a threat to public safety. The police department’s policy should be clear cut and simple. You commit a crime, you get found out to be illegal, you get handed over to the federal authorities.”
Mr Gomez added that the city’s defiance could prove costly with potential cuts in federal aid.
“The city of New York does not want to go head-to-head with the White House. That’s a losing battle.”
New York City gets more than $7 billion from Washington. Opposing the White House could lead to some of this money being withdrawn in the form of cuts to police funding, or a reduction in housing or transportation grants.
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling