Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportations have soared in New York City, especially for immigrants with no prior criminal convictions, as a result of President Donald Trump’s policies, according to a report from city Comptroller Scott M. Stringer.
Stringer is calling on New York City and state officials to provide greater protections for immigrants, including banning ICE from in and around New York courthouses, in light of the sharp increase.
In fiscal year 2016, the last year of the Obama administration, there were 313 people with no criminal history deported in New York City, Stringer said in a report out this week. In fiscal year 2018, the first of the Trump administration, that number ballooned to 1,144 for a 265 percent increase — the largest of any ICE field office in the country.
Overall, ICE deportations across the five boroughs have jumped 150 percent in that same time period, increasing from 1,037 to 2,593.
ICE arrests in New York City are also up 88 percent overall, the report found, with Queens now home to half of all immigration court proceedings in the city.
Why the dramatic jumps? Stringer cites the Trump administration’s “racist, xenophobic” policies.
“Let’s be clear: undocumented New Yorkers are part of the fabric of our city,” he said in a statement. “But even in a sanctuary city like New York, the escalation of ICE raids, arrests, and intimidation is terrorizing the everyday life of our neighbors and forcing undocumented New Yorkers into the shadows.”
“ICE has strayed too far from its original mission and has been allowed to function with little to no oversight during the Trump administration as the agency carries out the President’s continuous attacks on immigrant communities,” added Congressman Adriano Espaillat in a statement. “It remains critical that we continue our efforts to ensure protections and immigrant rights, especially for individuals and families seeking asylum here in America.”
What can NYC do to protect immigrants from ICE deportations?
New York City is home to 3.3 million immigrants, according to Stringer’s office.
Per the report, Chinese immigrants make up 21 percent (more than 10,000) of all New York City immigration cases opened since fiscal year 2016, for the largest nationality of New York City immigrants undergoing immigration court proceedings. Immigrants from India make up about 10 percent of all cases, and immigrants from Guatemala and Ecuador follow, making up about 7 percent each.
Some detained immigrants do have the ability to post a bond to immigration court and thus be released, but those bonds are often more costly than regular bail.
Between fiscal year 2014 and fiscal year 2017, New York City immigration court judges set a median bond amount of $7,500, per Stringer. Recent bonds have ranged, officials say, from $1,500 to $100,000.
To protect these immigrants, Stringer is calling on city officials to expand funding for legal services and work toward providing representation for all immigrants, as well as support the New York Immigrant Freedom Fund to help pay for those detainees’ bonds.
State officials, Stringer says, should pass the Protect Our Courts Act, introduced by State Sen. Brad Hoylman and State Assemblymember Michaelle Solages, which would restrict immigration enforcement operations in and around New York courthouses.