In New York, Sanctuary for Immigrants Don’t Mean A Whole Lot [VIDEO]

By Julianne Hing Oct 28, 2009

ARC’s own Seth Wessler and Janis Roshuevel, director of the immigrant defense network Families for Freedom, co-wrote a piece published in the Huffington Post interrogating New York’s self-proclaimed status as a sanctuary city for immigrants.

While New York City purports a hands-off approach to immigration, non-citizens who come into contact with the criminal justice system know a different reality. ICE agents at Rikers regularly deceive people they suspect of not being citizens and rope them into the deportation system by violating their legal and human rights. New York claims status as a "sanctuary" city, enabling people to report crimes without fear of punishment or deportation. Allowing ICE into its jails is a violation of this policy. Schiro must urgently implement the demands of Immigration Out of Rikers, a city wide coalition pushing to kick ICE out of the facility. A key first step would be to refuse ICE access to the two-thirds of Rikers detainees who are pre-trial. Letting immigration agents into city jails means that many families end up being needlessly ripped apart.

Read the rest of the piece here. And be sure to check out for our series investigating the impacts of deportation on families of color.