Mayor Bill de Blasio asked federal immigration authorities Friday to ban its officers from portraying themselves as local police, saying such practices drive victims and witnesses of crime “into the shadows and create fear.”
The mayor pointed to a series of reports the city has received of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers calling themselves police officers, detectives or members of a “narcotics squad” in order to gain access to homes or make immigration arrests.
“Clearly stated, the NYPD does not want ICE agents stating or implying that they represent the NYPD,” de Blasio wrote in a letter to Tony Pham, the acting head of ICE. “Such behavior negatively affects the public safety mission of the NYPD and erodes trust in our communities.”
Messages seeking comment were sent to ICE.
De Blasio’s letter marked the latest flashpoint in a long-simmering conflict over New York City’s so-called sanctuary policies.
Earlier this year, ICE took the city to court after the de Blasio administration balked at “immigration subpoenas” it received from the government, seeking information about a handful of inmates wanted for deportation. The city ultimately provided limited details about the inmates, even as it derided the subpoenas as a “political stunt.”
The action reflected ICE’s mounting frustration with jurisdictions that do not honor deportation “detainers” or provide any details about defendants going in and out of local custody.
De Blasio added in his letter that “New York City remains the safest big city in America in large part because of NYPD’s work to ensure that victims and witnesses of crime feel safe coming forward.”
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