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Know Your Rights
Source: Make the Road New York
Subject: Immigration
Type: Pubs & Reports

Immigration Out of Rikers

Sponsored by
Make the Road New York
New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City
Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights

Over the past several years federal immigration agents have established a permanent presence on Rikers Island and in other New York City Department of Corrections (“DOC”) facilities. Without any oversight, accountability or written agreement U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) agents have regularly engaged coercive and deceitful interrogations of DOC detainees. About 2/3rds of these detainees are awaiting trial and are presumed innocent and ICE agents routinely deny them their constitutional rights to
remain silent and to an attorney. As a result of these interrogations, immigrants throughout New York are less willing to cooperate with local police as witnesses and victims of crime — undermining everyone’s safety. Despite its rhetoric of reform, the Obama administration has continued the Bush administration’s enforcement-only approach – leading to the deportation of countless New Yorkers and the destruction of New York families. Indeed, ICE’s presence in DOC facilities has led to the deportation of thousands of New Yorkers every year – many with no criminal record – leaving the deportees’ families abandoned in New York and dependent on our City’s strained social service system. It is time to end New York City’s participation in ICE’s dishonest,
immoral and dangerous enforcement operations in DOC facilities.

The Immigration Out of Rikers Coalition demands, and will advance City legislation to achieve:

  • An End to ICE’s Dishonest, Immoral and Dangerous Enforcement Operations in DOC Facilities.
    ICE’s enforcement operations are dishonest because they seek to deport the very people who have been promised a path to legalization. The enforcement scheme is immoral because it tears apart New York families – deporting breadwinners and leaving the burden of dependents on New York City’s social service
    agencies. Finally, ICE’s presence at Rikers is dangerous because it undermines community policing efforts and makes us all less safe. New York City can end our participation in ICE’s dishonest, immoral, and dangerous enforcement operations by, at minimum:
    • Refusing to allow ICE access to pre-trial detainees.
    • Prohibiting the collection or sharing of immigration data about pre-trial detainees with ICE.
    • Refusing to accept ICE detainers on New Yorkers who have been promised legalization.
    • Requiring ICE to observe the legal rights of all New York City detainees.
  • Securing Our Community by Keeping Out ICE’s “Secure Communities” Program.
    By 2012, ICE plans to implement a computer system, dubbed “Secure Communities,” to streamline how detainers will be lodged against immigrants in DOC facilities – ushering them directly from New York custody into the black hole of immigration detention. This system will increase the wrongful detention of many U.S. citizens – along with immigrants who were wrongfully arrested, immigrants who were arrested for minor charges, immigrants who are found not guilty, undocumented immigrants who are eligible for or in the process of getting legal status, asylees and refugees fleeing persecution, and green card holders who have spent nearly all their lives in New York. New York City can protect our community by:
    • Refusing to allow our City to participate in ICE’s “Secure Communities” program.