New report shows dramatic increase in ICE activity around New York City

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A new report shows a sharp increase in Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests and deportations in New York City, and on Thursday, Comptroller Scott Stringer joined immigrant families and advocates to demand greater protections from ICE activity.

Stringer's report, called "The Demographics of Detention," charts what he calls a stark escalation in arrests, deportations, and immigration court proceedings in the city during the first two years of the Trump Administration as compared to the last year of the Obama Administration.

The report shows that Chinese immigrants now account for one out of five of all immigration court proceedings in New York City, double the number of any other nationality, while nearly half of all immigration court proceedings originate from Queens.

In response, Stringer called on the city to expand access to legal services to achieve universal representation for immigrants and increase support for the New York Immigrant Freedom Fund, while urging passage of state legislation to bar ICE enforcement in and around New York courthouses.

"Let's be clear, undocumented New Yorkers are part of the fabric of our city," Stringer said. "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."

The report found that:
--Deportations by ICE officers in New York City increased by 150 percent between the final year of the Obama Administration and the first full fiscal year of the Trump Administration, jumping from 1,037 to 2,593.
--Deportations of individuals with no criminal convictions rose even more in that time, from 313 to 1,144, the largest increase of any ICE field office in the country.

--Administrative arrests (an arrest made for a civil violation of immigration law) by ICE officers in New York City rose by 88.2 percent, going from 1,847 arrests in FY 2016 to 3,476 in FY 2018, the third-highest increase of all ICE field offices.
--ICE detainer requests (a request made by ICE to local law enforcement agencies to hold an immigrant in custody longer than they would otherwise so that ICE can gain custody of the immigrant) sent to entities located in New York City have risen more than six-fold during the Trump Administration.
--Immigration court records indicate that the number of new deportation cases involving an immigrant living in New York City grew to an all-time high in FY 2018 of more than 19,750 cases.

Report recommendations include:
--The city should work toward providing truly universal representation for individuals in immigration proceedings by expanding existing funding for legal services and removing the criminal carve-out that restricts certain immigrants' access to city-funded services.

--The city should continue to support the operation of the New York Immigrant Freedom Fund to help pay bond for those detained during immigration proceedings.
--The state should act to restrict immigration enforcement operations in and near New York courthouses by enacting the Protect Our Courts Act.

"These statistics are harrowing, and they're a call to action because these just aren't numbers," Stringer said. "They're sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, partners, neighbors, and friends."

CLICK HERE to read the full report.

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