NYC Council Speaker Aims to Keep Trump’s Immigration Agents Away From City Property

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, right.
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, right. William Alatriste/New York City Council)

In her final State of the City address this afternoon, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will lay out plans to strengthen New York’s so-called “sanctuary city” policies—even as President Donald Trump moves to penalize municipalities that fail to cooperate with federal immigration officials.

The term-limited Council speaker will propose several defiant steps to further shield undocumented immigrants from arrest and deportation, according to notes her office released to the media in advance of the address at the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn. The former surrogate for Hillary Clinton will propose new laws barring Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from public schools, social service offices and personnel areas of city buildings, except when the federal authorities have a warrant.

Mark-Viverito, a native of Puerto Rico, will also call for including the Department of Probation in the NYPD and Department of Corrections’ policies of not honoring ICE requests to hold a foreign in custody in most cases.

“We will not abandon our immigrant communities. They are members of our New York family. And we will continue to fight for their rights, safety and security,” a released excerpt from the speech says.

The speaker’s State of the City comes after ICE captured more than 40 people in the greater New York area last week, five of them on Staten Island. ICE reported that 95 percent of the people now in detention had criminal records—though it is not clear what kind of offenses most of them committed.

Under President Barack Obama, the federal government only targeted individuals who had committed the most serious felonies for apprehension—just as New York City only complies with ICE detainer requests for 17o violent crimes. But Trump inked an executive order last month calling for ICE to move against any foreign national charged with any crime, even if not convicted.

He has also signed a fiat severing federal funding to any municipality that does not cooperate with his expulsion efforts.

Against that backdrop, Mark-Viverito hopes to establish “Immigrant Family Resource Centers” in each borough to offer support to people facing federal proceedings and their relatives. She also will announce plans for a national sanctuary cities convention, where like-minded municipalities can gather and strategize.

The speaker appears to be counting on Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s promise to sue the federal government should it try to cut off allocations for New York City. Her State of the City will also call for free birth control for all women in the five boroughs, universal free school lunch, $22 million for the Emergency Food Assistance program and new diversity and sex education programs in public schools. NYC Council Speaker Aims to Keep Trump’s Immigration Agents Away From City Property