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Know Your Rights
Source: New York Daily News
Subject: Immigration
Type: Media Coverage

City Council takes on Feds over immigrant detentions at Rikers Island

The city council Wednesday introduced legislation to limit the power of federal immigration officers on Rikers Island.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have detained and deported hundreds of inmates charged with a variety of crimes – from low level quality-of-life offenses to felony drug charges.

Many of those detained or kicked out of the country are never convicted of a crime. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has championed the measure, which was hailed by immigration advocates [including Make the Road New York].

"The time is overdue for New York City to end its collaboration with immigration enforcement programs that target vulnerable members of our communities and funnel them into a fundamentally broken system," said Rick Jones, executive director of Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem.

The Bloomberg administration has not taken a position on the bill.

"We are glad that the Council has begun considering the public safety aspects of this issue, and we look forward to reviewing the draft legislation," said mayoral spokesman Marc LaVorgna.

Federal immigration officials say further limits on their agents based at Rikers Island would take away one of their best tools for tossing foreign-born criminals.

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