New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed two bills into law on Friday that serve to limit the city’s cooperation with federal immigration officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Now, the city will only work with federal authorities on concerns over public safety or when immigrants have committed “violent or serious crimes,” the Associated Press reports.
Speaking in front of Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Queens, New York, de Blasio said the laws will serve to protect immigrants who are living in New York City without proper documentation from deportation.
“Mass deportation has not only pulled apart thousands of New York City families, it has also undermined public safety in our communities and imposed disproportionate penalties on immigrant parents and spouses who these families depend on for emotional and financial support,” de Blasio said.
Luis Martinez, a spokesperson for federal immigration and customs enforcement, told the Wall Street Journal that the agency’s job is “to ensure that dangerous criminals are not released from prisons or jails and into our communities.”
“ICE will continue to work cooperatively with law enforcement partners throughout New York as the agency seeks to enforce its priorities through the identification and removal of convicted criminals and other public safety threats,” he said.
The effort by the de Blasio Administration to protect immigrants from deportation comes amid battles over immigration on the federal level. President Barack Obama said last week that he will act on immigration reform with or without the support from Congress.