New York City Council Mulling Bill to Keep ICE out of City Business

ICE Homeland Security Investigations Agents Arrest Gang Members. (File Photo: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Homeland Security Investigations)
File Photo: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Homeland Security Investigations

A New York City council member from Brooklyn is pushing legislation that would bar the city from doing business with agencies that enforce federal immigration laws.

New York City Councilman Carlos Menchaca, a Democrat who chairs the council’s Immigration Committee, introduced the bill at a city council hearing Thursday, where the city council discussed what a measure limiting the power of agencies like U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would look like in practice, the New York Post reported.

“There’s no doubt that the question around abolish ICE has reached fever pitch,” City Councilman Carlos Menchaca said, according to WPIX. “So many of our communities are asking us to think about this.”

But despite the push from Democratic city council members to bar the city from working with immigration enforcement agencies, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration does not support the measure.

Bitta Mostofi, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, told the Immigration Committee that the city supports the idea of distancing the city from ICE, but does not support terminating city contracts with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Mostofi said the city has two contracts with DHS that have nothing to do with immigration, including one that relies on the agency to help screen “the air for agents likely to be used in a bioterrorism attack.”

“This contract serves extremely important national security interests, and is unrelated to civil immigration enforcement,” said Mostafi.

Menchaca said he is willing to “negotiate” with the de Blasio administration but thinks he could gain enough support from the council to pass the legislation without de Blasio’s approval.

“This Council has done many things against the will of this mayor, so theoretically, absolutely we will have” the votes, Menchaca said.

The Immigration Committee is expected to vote on the legislation September 12.

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